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The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006)

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Author Info

  • Dur, R.
  • Vollaard, B.A.

    (Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economics Center)

Abstract

Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. This paper reports the results of a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was reduced from daily to twice a week during a three-month period. Using high-frequency data on litter at treated and control locations before, during, and after the experiment, we find strong evidence that litter begets litter. However, we also find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Tilburg University, Tilburg Law and Economic Center in its series Discussion Paper with number 2012-024.

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Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:dgr:kubtil:2012024

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Web page: http://www.tilburguniversity.nl/tilec/

Related research

Keywords: littering; public services; free-riding; field experiment;

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References

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  7. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2002. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," NBER Working Papers 8841, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Ramos Joao & Torgler Benno, 2012. "Are Academics Messy? Testing the Broken Windows Theory with a Field Experiment in the Work Environment," Review of Law & Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 8(3), pages 563-577, December.
  9. Roberto Burlando & Francesco Guala, 2005. "Heterogeneous Agents in Public Goods Experiments," Experimental Economics, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 35-54, April.
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