Article | Social Psychological & Personality Science | May 2013

Here's a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Corruption

by Magnus Thor Torfason, Francis J. Flynn and Daniella Kupor


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 GDP, 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.

Keywords: Giving and Philanthropy; Crime and Corruption; Behavior;


Torfason, Magnus Thor, Francis J. Flynn, and Daniella Kupor. "Here's a Tip: Prosocial Gratuities Are Linked to Corruption." Social Psychological & Personality Science 4, no. 3 (May 2013): 348–354.