Nudge for tipping

The Empty Jar vs. the Glowing Screen Personally, I never tip the baristas when I go to a coffee shop. But plenty of people do. Enough that Starbucks has faced lawsuits over how it distributes the ample proceeds of its tip jars between managers and staff. Now, Starbucks is taking those tip jars digital. The coffee chain is debuting a new feature on its mobile payment app that will make it possible for patrons to leave tips with just the touch of a screen. Starbucks says its fans requested the option, as more and more of them are using smartphones … Continue reading Nudge for tipping

Women care about gifts

Women are better at picking out gifts than men Although it is commonly believed that women are better at picking out gifts than men, this has never been empirically tested. The studies presented in this paper address this oversight. The researchers had men and women select gifts that they would like best to receive from an artificial catalog containing items that both men and women tend to like equally (who doesn’t want champagne?). They then had their partner select gifts for them from the same catalog. As predicted by the stereotype, women were indeed better at guessing what their partner … Continue reading Women care about gifts

What drives preferences for a stroller

Conspicuous consumption: parent edition This post is not really related to taxes but more a recent observation of mine. I am mum to an 8th month old and observe a lot of things about parents I did not previously notice. This blog follows up on my twitter postings from Christmas Day.I am in the mighty megapolous of Toronto for Christmas. And I do mean Toronto and not the GTA, an important distinction for those that living in Toronto proper itself. I am visiting my in-laws for Christmas, who I like a great deal, and they live in a very affluent … Continue reading What drives preferences for a stroller

Are gift-givers loss averse?

An economist’s guide to gift-giving In January 1993, Joel Waldfogel asked 86 undergraduate students whether they liked their Christmas gifts. But Waldfogel is an economist, so he phrased the question more precisely, asking them how much they would have paid to buy those items for themselves. The results were grim, at least for the gift-givers: The students estimated that their gifts had cost $438.20 — but they said the most they would have been willing to pay for them was $313.40. Two months later, Waldfogel rounded up 58 more students and asked them how much cash it would have taken … Continue reading Are gift-givers loss averse?