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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.

Suggested Citation

  • W. Kip Viscusi & Joel Huber & Jason Bell, 2011. "Promoting Recycling: Private Values, Social Norms, and Economic Incentives," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(3), pages 65-70, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:101:y:2011:i:3:p:65-70
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    References listed on IDEAS

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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Martha A. Starr, 2015. "The Economics of Ethical Consumption," Working Papers 2015-01, American University, Department of Economics.
    2. Grebitus, Carola & Steiner, Bodo & Veeman, Michele, 2015. "The roles of human values and generalized trust on stated preferences when food is labeled with environmental footprints: Insights from Germany," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 52(C), pages 84-91.
    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.
    4. Brian Chi-ang Lin & Siqi Zheng & Ankinée Kirakozian, 2016. "One Without The Other? Behavioural And Incentive Policies For Household Waste Management," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(3), pages 526-551, July.
    5. Cecere, Grazia & Mancinelli, Susanna & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2014. "Waste prevention and social preferences: the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 163-176.
    6. Alló, Maria & Loureiro, Maria L., 2014. "The role of social norms on preferences towards climate change policies: A meta-analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 563-574.
    7. Ankinée Kirakozian & Christophe Charlier, 2015. "Just Tell me What my Neighbors Do! Public Policies for Households Recycling," GREDEG Working Papers 2015-20, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised Apr 2016.
    8. Alessio D'Amato & Susanna Mancinelli & Mariangela Zoli, 2014. "Two Shades of (Warm) Glow: multidimensional intrinsic motivation, waste reduction and recycling," SEEDS Working Papers 2114, SEEDS, Sustainability Environmental Economics and Dynamics Studies, revised Aug 2014.
    9. Carattini, Stefano & Baranzini, Andrea & Lalive, Rafael, 2018. "Is Taxing Waste a Waste of Time? Evidence from a Supreme Court Decision," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 148(C), pages 131-151.
    10. Agnès Festré & Pierre Garrouste & Ankinée Kirakozian & Mira Toumi, 2017. "The Pen Might Be Mightier than the Sword: How Third-party Advice or Sanction Impacts on Pro-environmental Behavior," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-15, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, revised Aug 2017.
    11. D'Amato, Alessio & Mancinelli, Susanna & Zoli, Mariangela, 2016. "Complementarity vs substitutability in waste management behaviors," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 84-94.
    12. Gorm Kipperberg & Douglas Larson, 2012. "Heterogeneous Preferences for Community Recycling Programs," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 53(4), pages 577-604, December.
    13. 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.
    14. repec:eee:enepol:v:108:y:2017:i:c:p:593-605 is not listed on IDEAS
    15. Adnane Kendel & Nathalie Lazaric & Kevin Maréchal, 2017. "What Do People 'Learn By Looking' at Direct Feedback on their Energy Consumption? Results of a Field Study in Southern France," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-19, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

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