Tip to Show Off: Impression Management Motivations
Increase Consumers’ Generosity
JACR 2021

Shirley Bluvstein and Priya Raghubir


Tipping is ubiquitous in countries such as the United States. Given the importance of examining the experiential side of marketing, we examine tipping—a participative pricing context and introduce it to the literature in behavioral pricing. We propose that consumers use tips as an impression management strategy, tipping more when their goal is to impress others. We examine the robustness of these impression management goals when overall bills are small (vs. large, study 1), customers pay using credit card (vs. cash, study 2), and hold different denominations of cash (study 3), as bill size, and payment modes could attenuate the effect of impression management goals on tipping intentions. These findings allow us to better understand the underlying antecedents of tipping behavior, and the consequences of impression management motivations. As such, the article cross-fertilizes the hospitality, economic psychology, and behavioral pricing literatures with applications to consumer research.