Freakonomics Radio: Should Tipping Be Banned?

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

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.

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Comments [3]

Jersey2 from North Bergen, NJ

If I order something form Houlihan's To-Go. I phone it in and go pick it up. Should I still tip. A server at Applebees once told me it was not required when I left a tip.

Mar. 21 2014 03:31 PM
carolita from NYC

In Japan, they don't tip. In France, I used to frequent Japanese ramen restaurants where most of the clientele were Japanese, and I noticed none of them tipped. So, it was a quandary. Tip like a French person? Or not tip, like everyone else who came to this restaurant? In the end I would not tip, because I didn't want to stand out. On the other hand, when a lot more Japanese ramen restaurants began opening, you had to really look around and see how Japanese the clientele was, because if they were more Frenchified, you definitely looked like a jerk if you didn't tip at least the French percentage. It was kind of funny, eating slow so you could watch everyone pay up and see what they did. I remember once tipping in a place where I wasn't a regular, just because I knew I'd probably not come back, and I tipped American style, because I'd just come back from a summer in the states, and the waiter gave me such a look of disdain that I realized I'd overtipped. Some waiters take offense if you tip them, like they're wondering if you think you can buy them or something. Complicated! I like it when waiters are paid well, or when the tip is automatically calculated for you.

Nov. 28 2013 10:30 AM

Freakonomics, one word OFFENSIVE!!!!
Please study the length of a mans penis in relationship to how much people tip.
At least then we might be close to the ratio of study to women's body size, parts, age etc.

Nov. 28 2013 10:14 AM

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