Skip to main content
Can Social Norms Motivate Employee Conservation Efforts?
Economics Working Papers
  • Joel Morton, Iowa State University
  • Peter F. Orazem, Iowa State University
  • Tanya Rosenblatt, University of Michigan
  • Carolyn Cutrona, Iowa State University
  • Zlatan Krizan, Iowa State University
  • James M. McCormick, Iowa State University
  • Sarah M. Nusser, Iowa State University
Publication Date

A randomized experiment is used to test whether employees will take actions to lower short- and long-run electricity use when their actions are unobservable and only the firm can benefit. Results suggest that social norms act as a coordinating device supporting worker conservation efforts. Electricity use fell 5.2% on average in buildings that were provided information on their own energy use compared to that in a paired building. The energy reductions have persisted over three years. Feedback on own past usage and provision of promotional information induced smaller and
statistically insignificant reductions in electricity use.

File Format
30 pages
Citation Information
Joel Morton, Peter F. Orazem, Tanya Rosenblatt, Carolyn Cutrona, et al.. "Can Social Norms Motivate Employee Conservation Efforts?" (2015)
Available at: