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The implications of tipping for economics and management

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Tipping is a phenomenon that illustrates the importance of social norms and psychological reasons in motivating economic behavior. People tip because this is the social norm and disobeying the norm results in psychological disutility. Tipping is also economically important: in the USA alone, millions of workers derive most of their income from tips, and annual tips amount to dozens of billions of dollars. Tipping is also prevalent in numerous other countries around the globe. While tipping has been studied extensively by psychologists, it has received very little attention from economists. In order to encourage other economists to research this interesting phenomenon, the author discusses the implications of tipping for several areas in economics: social economics, behavioral economics, labor economics, and economics of information/management strategy. Also many ideas are provided for future research both as part of the discussion and in the concluding section.
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Keywords: Behavioural economics; Remuneration; Social economics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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