Erez Yoeli, Moshe Hoffman, David Rand, and Martin Nowak have conducted a fascinating new study that suggests reputation sometimes can be a bigger motivator than money. They conducted a field experiment associated with a utility company's program in California to try to prevent blackouts. Some individuals were offered financial incentives to participate. For other individuals, sign-up sheets were posted in common areas of apartment buildings. Financial incentives did boost participation in the program. However, the sign-up sheets had a much more significant impact! Rand explained to the Harvard Gazette: “When people know it’s a cooperative effort, they feel peer pressure to take part. They think, ‘If I don’t do this, I’m going to look like a jerk.’ But if it’s not observable, then there’s no problem with not participating.” Making behavior observable brings reputation to the forefront. People care a great deal, in many cases, about how others perceive them. Hoffman explained that Toyota may have used this self-perception concern to its benefit when designing the Prius. “In fact, we think this is one reason why the Prius, for instance, is such a different-looking car. The designers at Toyota seem to have intuitively had this idea: designing a car that didn’t look like any other car so your neighbors can tell you’re driving a hybrid."