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Does Craigslist Reduce Waste? Evidence from California and Florida

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  • Fremstad, Anders

Abstract

There is much discussion but little research on the environmental impacts of online platforms associated with the sharing economy. Economic theory suggests that falling transaction costs in secondhand markets increase incentives for people to exchange rather than discard used goods. This paper uses difference-in-difference methods to estimate Craigslist's effect on solid waste by exploiting a natural experiment in how the platform expanded across California and Florida. The econometric results suggest that Craigslist reduced daily per capita solid waste generation by about one third of a pound, though the estimates are not very precise. A plausibility analysis of the weight of items posted on Craigslist concludes that the 200 million annual for-sale posts created by Californians and Floridians can reasonably account for waste reductions of roughly this magnitude.

Suggested Citation

  • Fremstad, Anders, 2017. "Does Craigslist Reduce Waste? Evidence from California and Florida," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 132(C), pages 135-143.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:132:y:2017:i:c:p:135-143
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.10.018
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    Keywords

    Transaction costs; Solid waste; Sharing economy;

    JEL classification:

    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • D23 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Organizational Behavior; Transaction Costs; Property Rights
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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