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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Volume (Year): 48 (2009)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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