Here Is a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Corruption

Magnus Thor Torfason, Francis J. Flynn, Daniella Kupor

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)348-354
Number of pages7
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support from Columbia University, Harvard University and Stanford University.

Other keywords

  • bribery
  • corruption
  • gratuities
  • temporal focus
  • tipping


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