Are academics messy? Testing the broken windows theory with a field experiment in the work environment

Ramos, Joao & Torgler, Benno (2012) Are academics messy? Testing the broken windows theory with a field experiment in the work environment. Review of Law & Economics, 8(3), pp. 563-577.

View at publisher

Abstract

We test the broken windows theory using a field experiment in a shared area of an academic workplace(the department common room). More specifically, we explore academics’ and postgraduate students’ behavior under an order condition (a clean environment) and a disorder condition (a messy environment). We find strong evidence that signs of disorderly behavior trigger littering: In 59% of the cases, subjects litter in the disorder treatment as compared to 18% in the order condition. These results remain robust in a multivariate analysis even when controlling for a large set of factors not directly examined by previous studies. Overall, when academic staff and postgraduate students observe that others have violated the social norm of keeping the common room clean, all else being equal, the probability of littering increases by around 40%.

Impact and interest:

3 citations in Scopus
Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

111 since deposited on 15 Jan 2013
27 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 56414
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
DOI: 10.1515/1555-5879.1617
ISSN: 1555-5879 (online) 2194-6000 (print)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > QUT Business School
Current > Schools > School of Economics & Finance
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 Walter de Gruyter
Copyright Statement: The final publication is available at www.degruyter.com
Deposited On: 15 Jan 2013 01:59
Last Modified: 30 Dec 2013 14:10

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page