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Curbside Recycling: Waste Resource or Waste of Resources?

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  • David Aadland

    (University of Wyoming)

  • Arthur J. Caplan

    (Utah State University)

Abstract

In this paper, we estimate the social net benefits of curbside recycling. Benefits are estimated using survey data on household willingness to pay (WTP) from over 4,000 households across 40 western U.S. cities. We calibrate WTP for hypothetical bias using an experimental design that contrasts stated and revealed preferences. Cost estimates are compiled from previous studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute for Local Self Reliance, as well as from in-depth interviews with recycling coordinators in our sampled cities. Remarkably, we find that the estimated mean social net benefit of curbside recycling is almost exactly zero. Therefore, the decision of whether to implement or maintain a curbside recycling program (CRP) must be done on a city-by-city basis.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/othr/papers/0310/0310001.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Others with number 0310001.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 14 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0310001

Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 35
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Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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Keywords: curbside recycling; willingness to pay; social net benefits; hypothetical bias; calibration;

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References

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  1. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  2. John C. Whitehead, 2002. "Incentive Incompatibility and Starting-Point Bias in Iterative Valuation Questions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(2), pages 285-297.
  3. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-76, May.
  4. Fullerton, Don & Wu, Wenbo, 1998. "Policies for Green Design," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 131-148, September.
  5. Haab, Timothy C. & McConnell, Kenneth E., 1997. "Referendum Models and Negative Willingness to Pay: Alternative Solutions," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 251-270, February.
  6. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  7. Laura O. Taylor & Ronald G. Cummings, 1999. "Unbiased Value Estimates for Environmental Goods: A Cheap Talk Design for the Contingent Valuation Method," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 649-665, June.
  8. Flores, Nicholas E., 2002. "Non-paternalistic altruism and welfare economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 293-305, February.
  9. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
  10. Li Chuan-Zhong & Mattsson Leif, 1995. "Discrete Choice under Preference Uncertainty: An Improved Structural Model for Contingent Valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 256-269, March.
  11. David Aadland & Arthur Caplan, 1999. "Household Valuation of Curbside Recycling," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(6), pages 781-799.
  12. David Aadland & Arthur J. Caplan, 2003. "Cheap Talk Revisited: New Evidence from CVM," Others 0301001, EconWPA.
  13. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
  14. David Aadland & Arthur J. Caplan, 2003. "Willingness to Pay for Curbside Recycling with Detection and Mitigation of Hypothetical Bias," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 492-502.
  15. Kinnaman, Thomas C. & Fullerton, Don, 2000. "Garbage and Recycling with Endogenous Local Policy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 419-442, November.
  16. Caplan, Arthur J. & Grijalva, Therese C. & Jakus, Paul M., 2002. "Waste not or want not? A contingent ranking analysis of curbside waste disposal options," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 185-197, December.
  17. Adamowicz W. & Louviere J. & Williams M., 1994. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Methods for Valuing Environmental Amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 271-292, May.
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Cited by:
  1. Dominique Ami & Frédéric Aprahamian & Olivier Chanel & Stephane Luchini, 2009. "A Test Of Cheap Talk In Different Hypothetical Contexts: The Case Of Air Pollution," Working Papers halshs-00382511, HAL.
  2. 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.
  3. Bohara, Alok K. & Caplan, Arthur J. & Grijalva, Therese, 2007. "The effect of experience and quantity-based pricing on the valuation of a curbside recycling program," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 64(2), pages 433-443, December.
  4. Wagner, Jeffrey, 2011. "Incentivizing sustainable waste management," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(4), pages 585-594, February.

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