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What sustains social norms and how they evolve? The case of tipping

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  • Ofer H. Azar

    (Northwestern University)

Abstract

The paper presents a model of the evolution of social norms. When a norm is costly to follow and people do not derive benefits from following it except for avoiding social disapproval, the norm erodes over time. Tip percentages, however, increased over the years, suggesting that people derive benefits from tipping, such as impressing others and improving their self-image as being generous and kind. The implications to the norm of not cooperating with new workers who accept lower wages are discussed; the model suggests that incumbent workers have reasons to follow this norm in addition to avoiding social disapproval.

Suggested Citation

  • Ofer H. Azar, 2003. "What sustains social norms and how they evolve? The case of tipping," Others 0309001, EconWPA.
  • Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0309001 Note: Type of Document - PDF
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Ernst Fehr & Simon G├Ąchter, 2000. "Fairness and Retaliation: The Economics of Reciprocity," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(3), pages 159-181, Summer.
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    18. Kahneman, Daniel & Knetsch, Jack L & Thaler, Richard, 1986. "Fairness as a Constraint on Profit Seeking: Entitlements in the Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 76(4), pages 728-741, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Tipping; Social norms; Evolution; Conformist transmission; Conformity;

    JEL classification:

    • D11 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Theory
    • A12 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Other Disciplines
    • J00 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - General - - - General

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