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A Comparison of Public Policies for Lead Recycling

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  • Hilary A. Sigman

Abstract

Policies that encourage recycling may be used to reduce environmental costs from waste disposal because direct restrictions on disposal are difficult to enforce. Four recycling policies have been advanced: (i) taxes on the use of virgin materials, (ii) deposit/refund programs, (iii) subsidies to recycled material production, and (iv) recycled content standards. In this article, I analyze the structure of these policies and their cost-effectiveness in achieving reductions in disposal. I then examine the policies in the empirical context of the recycling of lead from automobile batteries. In order to calculate the effects of recycling programs, I estimate the elasticities for primary and secondary lead supply and demand. My results suggest that price-based policy mechanisms can be successful in increasing lead recovery and that the difference in efficiency between the four approaches is similar.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by The RAND Corporation in its journal RAND Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 26 (1995)
Issue (Month): 3 (Autumn)
Pages: 452-478

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Handle: RePEc:rje:randje:v:26:y:1995:i:autumn:p:452-478

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Cited by:
  1. Palmer, Karen & Macauley, Molly & Shih, Jhih-Shyang & Cline, Sarah & Holsinger, Heather, 2001. "Modeling the Costs and Environmental Benefits of Disposal Options for End-of-Life Electronic Equipment: The Case of Used Computer Monitors," Discussion Papers dp-01-27, Resources For the Future.
  2. Stavins, Robert N., 2003. "Experience with market-based environmental policy instruments," Handbook of Environmental Economics, in: K. G. Mäler & J. R. Vincent (ed.), Handbook of Environmental Economics, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 9, pages 355-435 Elsevier.
  3. Hilary Sigman & Sarah L. Stafford, 2010. "Management of Hazardous Waste and Contaminated Land," Working Papers 104, Department of Economics, College of William and Mary.
  4. Hamilton, Stephen F. & Sproul, Thomas W. & Sunding, David & Zilberman, David, 2013. "Environmental Policy with Collective Waste Disposal," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 151142, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  5. Calcott, Paul & Walls, Margaret, 2005. "Waste, recycling, and "Design for Environment": Roles for markets and policy instruments," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 287-305, November.
  6. Don Fullerton & Wenbo Wu, 1996. "Policies for Green Design," NBER Working Papers 5594, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Don Fullerton & Ann Wolverton, 1997. "The Case for a Two-Part Instrument: Presumptive Tax and Environmental Subsidy," NBER Working Papers 5993, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Walls, Margaret & Calcott, Paul, 2000. "Policies to Encourage Recycling and "Design for Environment": What to Do When Markets are Missing," Discussion Papers dp-00-30, Resources For the Future.
  9. Margaret Walls & Paul Calcott, 2000. "Can Downstream Waste Disposal Policies Encourage Upstream "Design for Environment"?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(2), pages 233-237, May.
  10. Walls, Margaret, 2011. "Deposit-Refund Systems in Practice and Theory," Discussion Papers dp-11-47, Resources For the Future.
  11. Conrad, Klaus, 1997. "A Theory of Production with Waste and Recycling," Discussion Papers 550, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
  12. Hilary Sigman, 2003. "Targeting Lead in Solid Waste," Departmental Working Papers 200308, Rutgers University, Department of Economics.
  13. Choe, Chongwoo & Fraser, Iain, 1998. "The economics of household waste management: a review," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 42(3), September.
  14. Mansikkasalo, Anna & Lundmark, Robert & Söderholm, Patrik, 2014. "Market behavior and policy in the recycled paper industry: A critical survey of price elasticity research," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(C), pages 17-29.

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