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Ice cream study generates media feedback

posted Aug 16, 2017, 6:47 AM by Stefan Palan   [ updated Aug 18, 2017, 2:07 AM ]
My joint paper with Michael Kirchler, "Immaterial and Monetary Gifts in Economic Transactions. Evidence from the Field. " has been accepted at Experimental Economics. In it, we explore the effect of complimenting or tipping the salesperson in a fast-food restaurant on the amount of ice cream or the weight of durum doner provided. The twist about the design is that we give the compliment or tip prior to the product's preparation.

We find that giving a compliment results in about 10% more ice cream in the cone, and tipping (about 10%) results in about 17% more ice cream. In the picture to the right, the left-hand cone was ordered normally, while the right-hand cone resulted from ordering and adding the sentence "You have the best ice cream in town".

In the case of the durum doner, the effects are not as strong (it is harder to pack more ingredients into a fixed-size bread), but in the compliment treatment, they increase over time. When we visit the same salesperson five days in a row, doner weight increases by 7% (23g) relative to the baseline when we compliment, while it stays relatively constant at 4% (17g) higher than in the baseline when we tip.

There has also been significant media reaction to the publication. A selection (see the full list in Media Exposure):
Die Presse (German)
Handelsblatt (German)
Kronen Zeitung (German)
Der Standard (German)

See the published version (open access) for further information.