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The time-honored tradition of tipping restaurant waitstaff has come under fire recently, both in the private marketplace and the voting booth. Some restaurants have chosen to eliminate gratuities in favor of a “living wage,” while citizens in Washington, D.C., recently voted to raise baseline wages for servers to a point that restaurants will find it difficult to encourage tipping. Professor Anthony Gill argues that although tipping may be an unpopular practice, it is an efficient institution that benefits restaurant owners, employees and customers. Gratuities solve principal-agent problems, allow for voluntary price discrimination and provide a ritualistic practice that bolsters trust within a market economy.
Anthony Gill (University of California, Los Angeles, 1994) is a professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington, adjunct professor of sociology at the UW, and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Baylor University’s Institute for Studies of Religion. He specializes in political economy and religion and politics, with an emphasis on church-state relations, religious liberty and religious economies.
He is author of "The Political Origins of Religious Liberty" (Cambridge, 2007) and "Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Church and the State in Latin America" (University of Chicago Press, 1998). Professor Gill has also published numerous journal articles and book chapters and has been a guest host for a local talk radio program. His latest endeavor is a weekly and free podcast series, Research on Religion, that seeks to make social scientific studies of religion more accessible to the public. Gill teaches courses in political economy and religion and politics. He was the recipient of the University of Washington's Distinguished Teaching Award in 1999.
Currently, he is studying how governments regulate religious organizations and how this impacts the level of religiosity in society. In addition to studying religion and politics, his interests relate to methodological and analytical issues surrounding comparative political analysis, including research design, rational choice and game theory.
Outside of academia, Gill is interested in camping, outdoor cooking, martial arts, property rights, the Old West and hardware stores. He is intending to write a book about the economics of hardware stores in the near future.