El blog reúne material de noticias de teoría y aplicaciones de conceptos básicos de economía en la vida diaria. Desde lo micro a lo macro pasando por todas las vertientes de los coyuntural a lo más abstracto de la teoría. La ciencia económica es imperial.
GrubHub Seamless compared tipping (by credit card on Seamless and GrubHub, and using PayPal on GrubHub) during the recent polar vortex to other weekdays since December 1st. The 10037 Zip Code—a corner of East Harlem—saw the greatest increase in tipping: twenty-four per cent on January 7th, when the day’s low hit a frigid four degrees. The second-greatest increase was on January 5th, when the residents of 07304, in Jersey City, New Jersey, raised their tips by fifteen per cent. But not every Zip Code participated in the tipping bonanza. Pity the delivery staff who got summoned to 07307, in Jersey City, on January 9th: the tips there were down by more than twenty-two per cent.
Natureworks Restaurant saw more Seamless and GrubHub orders on the coldest day of the polar vortex than any other New York establishment. (In Boston, Montecristo Mexican Grill, Siam Bistro Thai Cuisine, and Punjab Palace were most in demand, while leaner appetites—or, perhaps, healthier New Year’s resolutions—prevailed in Washington, D.C., where Chop’t Creative Salad Co. was the most popular.)
Eric Toribio, a shift manager at the Natureworks on East Thirty-first Street in Manhattan, recalled the snowstorm during the polar vortex, when, even before the roads had been cleared, Natureworks was already making deliveries. “Some of the delivery guys abandoned their bikes and walked the rest of the way,” he said. “People were definitely thankful that we didn’t give up, but did whatever it took to get them their orders. That’s when you get a big tip.”
That’s not surprising: tips, after all, are meant to be an expression of appreciation for especially great service. On January 3rd, the day that Toribio remembers his delivery staff abandoning their bikes in the three inches of snow that blanketed Manhattan, the residents of 10020 rewarded delivery staff with a fourteen-per-cent increase in tips.
In general, the relationship between tipping and weather doesn’t appear to be well understood by researchers. Michael Lynn, a professor of food-and-beverage management at Cornell, has researched how tipping is affected by everything from the attractiveness and gender of the server to the race, religion, and socioeconomic status of the patron. He has studied tipping for decades, ever since he waited tables and tended bar during college, but told me that “very few studies actually look at weather, and they’ve produced mixed results.”
Lynn and other researchers were reluctant to try to explain the tipping variations from one Zip Code to the next. But they speculated: maybe people who order from restaurants located farther away feel compelled to give bigger tips, to make up for the greater distance travelled by the delivery person.
There may be demographic influences on tipping, too. Adam Greenberg, a graduate student in economics at the University of California in San Diego, who has also studied gratuities, pointed to a study by Lynn that found that black patrons tipped less than white patrons—a provocative finding, to be sure—and to his own research, which found that people using American Express cards, who also tended to be wealthier, tipped significantly more than people using other cards. Greenberg said that, generally, “knowledge of tipping norms depends on socioeconomic status, so demographic variation across Zip Codes could make it appear as if certain Zip Codes are less generous.”
Greenberg and Sean Flynn, an economics professor at Scripps, worked together on the most thorough study of gratuities and weather, relying on receipts from when customers dined out at restaurants. The pair analyzed two years’ worth of data, partly in an attempt to test the results of an earlier study, which suggested that tipping increases on sunny days. But they found no correlation between weather and tipping, only a strong correlation with the time of the year. “Tipping rates go way up during the holidays, especially right before Christmas, so people clearly modulate their tipping intensity based on social factors,” Flynn said.
Lynn contrasted the study by Flynn and Greenberg on dining-in habits with some of his own research on food delivery, specifically pizza delivery, in which he found that early or on-time delivery was rewarded with higher-than-expected tips—“But only when the driver ascribed the delivery to their own efforts,” he said. “Drivers had to make clear that they were the reason deliveries got there ahead of schedule.”