In late October, a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper co-authored by Uri Gneezy, Rady School professor and Epstein/Atkinson Endowed Chair in Management Leadership, sparked widespread online conversations with its surprising revelations about how we tip.
Gneezy and his co-authors studied 40 million Uber trips during four weeks between August and September 2017, looking at factors such as driver and rider characteristics, timing, location and ride quality. “We all have theories or stereotypes about who tips best and which workers earn the most, but honest-to-goodness tipping facts are rare,” wrote Andrew Van Dam of The Washington Post. This working paper offered unprecedented insight into tipping behavior (and lack there of).
As shared by The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Economist, Daily Mail, Wired and other news outlets (and many a Twitter users), Gneezy’s study found that most Uber riders don’t tip. Nearly 60% of riders never tip, and only about 1% always do. Whether or not there’s a tip depends more on who the rider is than the driver (although promptness and safety still make a difference). Other factors the researchers found to influence tips include star rating, the time of day, destination and gender. Read the original working paper, The Drivers of Social Preference: Evidence from a Nationwide Tipping Experience, here.