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The Economics Of Plastic Bag Legislation In South Africa

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  • Reviva Hasson
  • Anthony Leiman
  • Martine Visser

Abstract

In May 2003 South Africa introduced legislation intended to decrease plastic bag litter. It combined standards and price-based economic tools in an attempt to reduce the public's demand for plastic bags. This paper analyses the short term effects of the legislation on bag demand. It also provides a background to these regulations and a theoretical overview. The assessment uses bag consumption data from four retailers, each representing a different consumer market. These are analysed, and respective price elasticities calculated. The results suggest that plastic bag demand is relatively price inelastic and imply that instruments utilising price alone, would have limited efficacy. However, the combination of standards and pricing successfully curbed plastic bag use in the short run. Further analysis suggests that the effectiveness of the legislation may be declining over time. Copyright (c) 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation (c) 2007 Economic Society of South Africa.

Suggested Citation

  • Reviva Hasson & Anthony Leiman & Martine Visser, 2007. "The Economics Of Plastic Bag Legislation In South Africa," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 75(1), pages 66-83, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:sajeco:v:75:y:2007:i:1:p:66-83
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Baumol,William J. & Oates,Wallace E., 1988. "The Theory of Environmental Policy," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521322249, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:10:y:2018:i:6:p:1994-:d:152306 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Jingze Jiang, 2016. "Peer Pressure in Voluntary Environmental Programs: a Case of the Bag Rewards Program," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 16(2), pages 155-190, June.
    3. Irina Zen & Rahmalan Ahamad & Wahid Omar, 2013. "No plastic bag campaign day in Malaysia and the policy implication," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 15(5), pages 1259-1269, October.
    4. Johane Dikgang & Martine Visser, 2012. "Behavioural Response To Plastic Bag Legislation In Botswana," South African Journal of Economics, Economic Society of South Africa, vol. 80(1), pages 123-133, March.

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