Here Is a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Corruption

Here Is a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Corruption

By
Magnus Thor Torfason, Francis J. Flynn, Daniella Kupor
Social Psychological and Personality Science. May
2013, Vol. 4, Issue 3, Pages 348-354

We investigated the link between tipping, an altruistic act, and bribery, an immoral act. We found a positive relationship between these two seemingly unrelated behaviors, using archival cross-national data for 32 countries, and controlling for per capita gross domestic product, income inequality, and other factors. Countries that had higher rates of tipping behavior tended to have higher rates of corruption. We suggest that this surprising association may be accounted for by temporal focus—people may tip and bribe others in order to receive special services in the future. Indeed, in a pair of follow-up survey studies, we find evidence that the link between tipping and bribery can be partly accounted for by prospective orientation.