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On the Second-best Policy of Household's Waste Recycling


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  • Takayoshi Shinkuma


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    This study analyzes the second-best household's waste recycling policy. If we assume the first-best economy with no illegal disposal or transaction costs, then unit pricing, an advance disposal fee and a recycling subsidy are required in order to achieve the social optimum such that both the sum of unit pricing and an advance disposal fee and the sum of unit pricing and a recycling subsidy are equal to the marginal disposal cost. Furthermore, the first-best outcome can also be obtained by a producer take-back requirement system. In the real economy, however, various factors prevent the first-best optimal outcome. In this study we consider two factors, one being the transaction cost associated with a recycling subsidy (or refund) and the other being illegal disposal by the consumer. If a recycling subsidy (or a deposit-refund system) is adopted, a transaction cost associated with it will be generated. Alternatively, if unit pricing is adopted, some of the consumed goods may be disposed of illegally. We show the complete trade-off between unit pricing and a recycling subsidy. In other words, we can not adopt unit pricing and a recycling subsidy simultaneously. As a result, there are three candidates for the second-best policy: unit pricing with an advance disposal fee, a deposit-refund system, and a producer take-back requirement system. Which of these three policies is the second-best policy will depend on the relative magnitude of the price of a recycled good and the marginal transaction cost associated with a recycling subsidy (or the refund in a deposit-refund system). Generally, if the price of a recycled good is positive and the marginal transaction cost is relatively high, unit pricing with an advance disposal fee is the second-best policy. However, where the price of a recycled good is negative and the marginal transaction cost is relatively high, a producer take-back requirement system is the second-best policy. Further, where the marginal transaction cost is relatively low, a deposit-refund system is the second-best policy, regardless of whether the price of a recycled good is positive or negative. Copyright Kluwer Academic Publishers 2003

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists in its journal Environmental and Resource Economics.

    Volume (Year): 24 (2003)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 77-95

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    Handle: RePEc:kap:enreec:v:24:y:2003:i:1:p:77-95

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    Keywords: illegal disposal; recycling; second-best policy; transaction costs;


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    1. Don Fullerton & Wenbo Wu, 1996. "Policies for Green Design," NBER Working Papers 5594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Fullerton Don & Kinnaman Thomas C., 1995. "Garbage, Recycling, and Illicit Burning or Dumping," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 78-91, July.
    3. Don Fullerton & Thomas C. Kinnaman, 1994. "Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag," CARE Working Papers 9402, The University of Texas at Austin, Center for Applied Research in Economics.
    4. Palmer, Karen & Walls, Margaret, 1997. "Optimal policies for solid waste disposal Taxes, subsidies, and standards," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 193-205, August.
    5. Choe, Chongwoo & Fraser, Iain, 1999. "An Economic Analysis of Household Waste Management," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 234-246, September.
    6. Palmer, Karen & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary, 1996. "The Cost of Reducing Municipal Solid Waste," Discussion Papers dp-96-35, Resources For the Future.
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    Cited by:
    1. Norimichi Matsueda & Yoko Nagase, 2008. "Economic Instruments and Resource Use in a Recyclable Product Market," Discussion Paper Series 41, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised Oct 2008.
    2. Alessio D’Amato & Shunsuke Managi & Massimiliano Mazzanti, 2012. "Economics of waste management and disposal: decoupling, policy enforcement and spatial factors," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 14(4), pages 323-325, October.
    3. Rob Aalbers & Herman Vollebergh, 2008. "An economic analysis of mixing wastes," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(3), pages 311-330, March.
    4. Rob F.T. Aalbers & Herman R.J. Vollebergh, 2005. "An Economic Analysis of Mixing Wastes," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-094/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Shinkuma, Takayoshi, 2007. "Reconsideration of an advance disposal fee policy for end-of-life durable goods," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 110-121, January.
    6. Honma, Satoshi, 2013. "Optimal policies for international recycling between developed and developing countries," MPRA Paper 43703, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Fleckinger, Pierre & Glachant, Matthieu, 2010. "The organization of extended producer responsibility in waste policy with product differentiation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 59(1), pages 57-66, January.
    8. Ulli-Beer, Silvia & Andersen, David F. & Richardson, George P., 2007. "Financing a competitive recycling initiative in Switzerland," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(3-4), pages 727-739, May.
    9. Francisco J. André & Emilio Cerdá, 2005. "Gestión de residuos sólidos urbanos: Análisis económico y políticas públicas," Economic Working Papers at Centro de Estudios Andaluces E2005/23, Centro de Estudios Andaluces.


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