June 2009

Was there Really a Hawthorne Effect at the Hawthorne Plant?

The idea of the Hawthorne effect is that individuals may change their behavior because they are being studied, in addition to any real effects of the intervention. Steven Levitt and John List have revisited the illumination experiments at the Hawthorne plant that gave name to the effect, and argue that many of the original conclusions do not hold up to scrutiny.