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Promoting Recycling: Private Values, Social Norms, and Economic Incentives

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  • W. Kip Viscusi
  • Joel Huber
  • Jason Bell

Abstract

Evidence from a nationally representative sample of households illuminates the determinants of recycling behavior for plastic water bottles. Private values of the environment are influential in promoting recycling, as are personal norms for pro-environmental behavior. However, social norms with respect to the assessment of the household's recycling behaviors by others have little independent effect. Particularly influential are policies that create economic incentives to promote recycling either through state recycling laws that reduce the time and inconvenience costs of recycling or through bottle deposits. Effective policies can have a discontinuous effect at the individual level, transforming non-recyclers into avid recyclers.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.101.3.65
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Review.

Volume (Year): 101 (2011)
Issue (Month): 3 (May)
Pages: 65-70

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:65-70

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References

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  1. Thomas C. Kinnaman, 2006. "Policy Watch: Examining the Justification for Residential Recycling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 219-232, Fall.
  2. Bevin Ashenmiller, 2010. "Externalities from Recycling Laws: Evidence from Crime Rates," American Law and Economics Review, Oxford University Press, vol. 12(1), pages 245-261.
  3. Bevin Ashenmiller, 2009. "Cash Recycling, Waste Disposal Costs, and the Incomes of the Working Poor: Evidence from California," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 85(3), pages 539-551.
  4. Bente Halvorsen, 2008. "Effects of Norms and Opportunity Cost of Time on Household Recycling," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 84(3), pages 501-516.
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Cited by:
  1. Gorm Kipperberg & Douglas Larson, 2012. "Heterogeneous Preferences for Community Recycling Programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(4), pages 577-604, December.
  2. Schnellenbach, Jan, 2012. "Nudges and norms: On the political economy of soft paternalism," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 266-277.
  3. Brandon C. Koford & Glenn C. Blomquist & David M. Hardesty & Kenneth R. Troske, 2012. "Estimating Consumer Willingness to Supply and Willingness to Pay for Curbside Recycling," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 88(4), pages 745-763.

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