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Black-White Differences in Tipping: Moderated by Socio-Economic Status?
Articles and Chapters
  • Michael Lynn, Cornell University
  • Curt C. Pugh, University of Washington
  • Jerome Williams, Rutgers University
Publication Date
Two studies examining the role of SES as a moderator of Black-White differences in tipping found that higher socio-economic status reduced Black-White differences in stiffing and flat tipping, but increased Black-White differences in the amount tipped by those who did tip. The finding that movement up the socio-economic ladder increases Black-White differences in tip size suggests that efforts to address the problems posed by those differences in tipping should not be confined to lower class establishments and neighborhoods. Managers and executives of restaurants and restaurant chains catering to black customers of all socio-economic levels are encouraged to reduce racial discrimination in service delivery and to address the other problems stemming from Black-White differences in tipping by (i) hiring Black as well as White mystery shoppers to monitor the service provided to Black guests, (ii) increasing Blacks’ awareness and internalization of tipping norms thru community as well as within-restaurant educational campaigns, or (iii) replacing voluntary tipping with automatic service charges.

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© Cornell University. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

Citation Information

Lynn, M., Pugh, C. C., & Williams, J. (2012). Black-white differences in tipping: The moderating effects of socioeconomic status. Cornell Hospitality Quarterly, 53(4), 286-294. Retrieved [insert date], from Cornell University, School of Hospitality Administration site: