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Employee Energy Benefits: What are They and What Effect Do They Have on Employees?

50 Pages Posted: 29 Jun 2016 Last revised: 10 Jul 2017

Alexander Maki

Vanderbilt University - Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment

Emmett McKinney

Vanderbilt University

Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt University - Law School

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics; Vanderbilt University - Law School; Resources for the Future

Jonathan M. Gilligan

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Date Written: July 7, 2017

Abstract

Employee energy benefits (EEBs), such as subsidies for employee home energy audits and financial incentives for carpooling to work, aim to influence employees’ environmental behaviors outside of work. Exploring these understudied benefits would offer new insights that can enrich theories of employer and employee motivations for engaging in environmental behavior, as well as reveal new strategies for making significant progress on environment goals. By drawing upon employer reports and conducting a survey of 482 U.S. adults employed full-time, we found that there are a wide range of types of EEBs currently offered by employers, and furthermore they were more likely to be offered in certain industries, such as state and local governments, but not others such as retail. These benefits were offered to 17% of employees, and included a vast array of strategies and approaches. Guided by theorizing on employer and employee motivation, open-ended responses suggested employers were perceived to offer EEBs to maximize competiveness and because of social responsibility concerns, and employees tended to enroll because they wanted to save money and time or because they cared about the environment. Finally, EEBs were linked to employee environmental behavior and morale. The findings reveal new information about the types of EEBs being offered, motivations for offering and enrolling in EEBs, and their relationship to employee behavior and morale. This work suggests numerous lines of promising new research.

Keywords: energy, employee benefits, corporate social responsibility, environmental behavior, climate change

JEL Classification: M14, M52, Q40, J30

Suggested Citation

Maki, Alexander and McKinney, Emmett and Vandenbergh, Michael P. and Cohen, Mark A. and Gilligan, Jonathan M., Employee Energy Benefits: What are They and What Effect Do They Have on Employees? (July 7, 2017). Vanderbilt Owen Graduate School of Management Research Paper No. 2801607; Vanderbilt Public Law Research Paper No. 16-36; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 16-19. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2801607

Alexander Maki (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Vanderbilt Institute for Energy and Environment ( email )

2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Emmett McKinney

Vanderbilt University ( email )

Nashville, TN 37240
United States

Michael P. Vandenbergh

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Mark A. Cohen

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States
615-322-0533 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://business.vanderbilt.edu/bio/mark-cohen/

Vanderbilt University - Law School

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States

Resources for the Future ( email )

1616 P Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
United States
202-328-5000 (Phone)

Jonathan M. Gilligan

Vanderbilt University - Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences ( email )

VU Station B #351805
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37235-1805
United States
615.322.2420 (Phone)
615.322.2138 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://my.vanderbilt.edu/jonathangilligan

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