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The socially optimal recycling rate: Evidence from Japan

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  • Kinnaman, Thomas C.
  • Shinkuma, Takayoshi
  • Yamamoto, Masashi

Abstract

This paper estimates the average social cost of municipal waste management as a function of the recycling rate. Social costs include all municipal costs and revenues, costs to recycling households to prepare materials estimated with an original method, external disposal costs, and external recycling benefits. Results suggest average social costs are minimized with recycling rates well below observed and mandated levels in Japan. Cost-minimizing municipalities are estimated to recycle less than the optimal rate. These results are robust to changes in the components of social costs, indicating that Japan and perhaps other developed countries may be setting inefficiently high recycling goals.

Suggested Citation

  • Kinnaman, Thomas C. & Shinkuma, Takayoshi & Yamamoto, Masashi, 2014. "The socially optimal recycling rate: Evidence from Japan," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 68(1), pages 54-70.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jeeman:v:68:y:2014:i:1:p:54-70
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jeem.2014.01.004
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Martin L. Weitzman, 1974. "Prices vs. Quantities," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 41(4), pages 477-491.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:kap:enreec:v:68:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s10640-016-0027-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. S. Ferreira & M. Cabral & N.F. da Cruz & P. Simões & R.C. Marques, 2017. "The costs and benefits of packaging waste management systems in Europe: the perspective of local authorities," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 60(5), pages 773-791, May.
    3. Elbert Dijkgraaf & Raymond Gradus, 2016. "Post Separation of Plastic Waste: Better for the Environment and Lower Collection Costs," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 16-103/VI, Tinbergen Institute.
    4. Caroline Orset & Nicolas Barret & Aurélien Lemaire, 2017. "How consumers of plastic water bottles are responding to environmental policies?," Post-Print hal-01500900, HAL.
    5. Tatoutchoup, Francis Didier, 2016. "Optimal rate of paper recycling," Forest Policy and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 73(C), pages 264-269.
    6. Hiroaki Ino & Norimichi Matsueda, 2014. "The Curse of Low-valued Recycling," Discussion Paper Series 123, School of Economics, Kwansei Gakuin University, revised May 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Solid waste; Recycling; Environmental policy;

    JEL classification:

    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods
    • H7 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations

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