To an economist, tipping is a puzzling behavior – why pay extra when it’s not required? In this episode of Freakonomics Radio, host Stephen Dubner looks at why we tip, which factors affect the amount, and whether tipping should perhaps be eliminated altogether. Research shows that African-American servers earn smaller tips than white servers, so there’s an argument to be made that the practice is discriminatory.
Later in the hour: if you have a parent with the genetic code for Huntington’s disease, a debilitating and ultimately fatal disorder, you have a 50 percent chance of getting Huntington’s yourself. And yet only 5 percent of such people actually get the genetic test to see if they will fall ill. Dubner talks to University of Chicago economist Emily Oster about her research on Huntington’s, and the value of not knowing your future.