Was there Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments
The "Hawthorne effect," a concept familiar to all students of social science, has had a profound influence both on the direction and design of research over the past 75 years. The Hawthorne effect is named after a landmark set of studies conducted at the Hawthorne plant in the 1920s. The first and most influential of these studies is known as the "Illumination Experiment." Both academics and popular writers commonly summarize the results as showing that every change in light, even those that made the room dimmer, had the effect of increasing productivity. The data from the illumination experiments, however, were never formally analyzed and were thought to have been destroyed. Our research has uncovered these data. We find that existing descriptions of supposedly remarkable data patterns prove to be entirely fictional. There are, however, hints of more subtle manifestations of a Hawthorne effect in the original data.
|Date of creation:||May 2009|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||published as Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2011. "Was There Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant? An Analysis of the Original Illumination Experiments," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 224-38, January.|
|Note:||DAE IO LS|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: |
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Glenn Harrison & John List, 2004.
Artefactual Field Experiments
00058, The Field Experiments Website.
- List John A., 2007.
"Field Experiments: A Bridge between Lab and Naturally Occurring Data,"
The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy,
De Gruyter, vol. 5(2), pages 1-47, April.
- John A. List, 2007. "Field Experiments: A Bridge Between Lab and Naturally-Occurring Data," NBER Working Papers 12992, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John List, 2006. "Field experiments: A bridge between lab and naturally occurring data," Artefactual Field Experiments 00083, The Field Experiments Website.
- Uri Gneezy & John A List, 2006.
"Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments,"
Econometric Society, vol. 74(5), pages 1365-1384, 09.
- Uri Gneezy & John A. List, 2006. "Putting Behavioral Economics to Work: Testing for Gift Exchange in Labor Markets Using Field Experiments," NBER Working Papers 12063, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- John List & Uri Gneezy, 2006. "Putting behavioral economics to work: Testing for gift exchange in labor markets using field experiments," Natural Field Experiments 00259, The Field Experiments Website.
- Stephen R G Jones, 1991. "Was There a Hawthorne Effect?," Department of Economics Working Papers 1991-01, McMaster University.
- A. Meltzer & Peter Ordeshook & Thomas Romer, 1982. "Introduction," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 39(1), pages 1-3, January.
- Anup Malani, 2006. "Identifying Placebo Effects with Data from Clinical Trials," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 236-256, April.
This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:15016. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.