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Endogenous Consumer Participation And The Recycling Problem




We endogenise the extent of consumer participation in the recycling process, and analyse its effect on the 'recycling problem'. When recycling requires consumers to undertake costly sorting activities to separate scrap from household waste, they will participate only if the net reward from sorting is positive. Consumers' sorting cost is subject to a network effect arising due to social norms. With heterogeneous consumers differing in terms of their sorting cost, the entire output of the recyclable product may not be subsequently available as scrap to the recycling firms. This increases the virgin producer's monopoly power, and may also lead to multiple equilibria if the network effect of sorting is sufficiently large. The latter result suggests a role for the government in influencing equilibrium selection to improve social welfare. Depending on the fraction of consumers that participate in recycling, increased societal pressure on consumers to recycle may decrease consumer participation and increase the virgin producer's market power. Copyright 2009 The Authors. Journal compilation 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/University of Adelaide and Flinders University.

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  • Soham Baksi & Ngo Van Long, 2009. "Endogenous Consumer Participation And The Recycling Problem ," Australian Economic Papers, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 48(4), pages 281-295, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ausecp:v:48:y:2009:i:4:p:281-295

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Jean Tirole, 1988. "The Theory of Industrial Organization," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262200716, July.
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    5. GĂ©rard Gaudet & Ngo Van Long, 2003. "Recycling Redux: A Nash-Cournot Approach," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 409-419.
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    7. Fullerton, Don & Kinnaman, Thomas C, 1996. "Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 971-984, September.
    8. Martin, Robert E, 1982. "Monopoly Power and the Recycling of Raw Materials," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(4), pages 405-419, June.
    9. Grant, Darren, 1999. "Recycling and market power: A more general model and re-evaluation of the evidence1," International Journal of Industrial Organization, Elsevier, vol. 17(1), pages 59-80, January.
    10. Valerie Y. Suslow, 1986. "Estimating Monopoly Behavior with Competitive Recycling: An Application to Alcoa," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 389-403, Autumn.
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