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Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Household and Municipal Recycling?

  • Matthew Gunter
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    Do economists reach a conclusion on household and municipal recycling? I explore the policy judgments of published economists on recycling and find that there is no broad consensus. The mainstream recycling literature is dominated by a guided-market approach; taxes and subsidies are advocated to correct for market failures. There are two less popular but still significant approaches: a minimal government laissez faire approach and a command and control regulatory approach. Laissez faire economists advocate little or no government intervention in recycling and waste management markets. Command and control economists usually advocate mandatory recycling and regulation. The paper concludes with a brief critique of the interventionist policies.

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    Article provided by Econ Journal Watch in its journal Econ Journal Watch.

    Volume (Year): 4 (2007)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 83-111

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    Handle: RePEc:ejw:journl:v:4:y:2007:i:1:p:83-111
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    1. Fullerton, Don & Wu, Wenbo, 1998. "Policies for Green Design," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 131-148, September.
    2. Baumol, William J., 1977. "On recycling as a moot environmental issue," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 4(1), pages 83-87, March.
    3. Jannett Highfill & Michael McAsey, 2001. "Landfilling Versus ``Backstop'' Recycling When Income Is Growing," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 19(1), pages 37-52, May.
    4. Baumgartner, Stefan & Dyckhoff, Harald & Faber, Malte & Proops, John & Schiller, Johannes, 2001. "The concept of joint production and ecological economics," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 365-372, March.
    5. Rafael Lusky, 1976. "A Model of Recycling and Pollution Control," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 9(1), pages 91-101, February.
    6. Ethridge, Don, 1973. "The Inclusion of Wastes in the Theory of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 81(6), pages 1430-41, Nov.-Dec..
    7. Palmer, Karen & Walls, Margaret, 2000. "Upstream Pollution, Downstream Waste Disposal, and the Design of Comprehensive Environmental Policies," Discussion Papers dp-97-51-rev, Resources For the Future.
    8. Vernon L. Smith, 1972. "Dynamics of Waste Accumulation: Disposal versus Recycling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 86(4), pages 600-616.
    9. Palmer, Karen & Walls, Margaret & Sigman, Hilary, 1996. "The Cost of Reducing Municipal Solid Waste," Discussion Papers dp-96-35, Resources For the Future.
    10. Eichner, Thomas & Pethig, Rudiger, 2001. "Product Design and Efficient Management of Recycling and Waste Treatment," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 109-134, January.
    11. Anni Huhtala, 1997. "A Post-Consumer Waste Management Model for Determining Optimal Levels of Recycling and Landfilling," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 10(3), pages 301-314, October.
    12. Marie Lynn Miranda & Jess W. Everett & Daniel Blume & Barbeau A. Roy, 1994. "Market-based incentives and residential municipal solid waste," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 681-698.
    13. Clark Wiseman, 1992. "Government and Recycling: Are We Promoting Waste?," Cato Journal, Cato Journal, Cato Institute, vol. 12(2), pages 443-460, Fall.
    14. Karen Pittel & Amigues Jean-Pierre & Thomas Kuhn, 2005. "Endogenous growth and recycling : a material balance approach," CER-ETH Economics working paper series 05/37, CER-ETH - Center of Economic Research (CER-ETH) at ETH Zurich.
    15. Creason, Jared & Podolsky, Michael, J., 2001. "Economic Impacts of Municipal Recycling," The Review of Regional Studies, Southern Regional Science Association, vol. 31(2), pages 149-164, Fall.
    16. Fullerton Don & Kinnaman Thomas C., 1995. "Garbage, Recycling, and Illicit Burning or Dumping," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 78-91, July.
    17. Kazuhiko Nishimura, 2001. "On inefficiency and instability in decentralized recycling systems," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 4(3), pages 191-210, September.
    18. Jenkins, Robin R. & Martinez, Salvador A. & Palmer, Karen & Podolsky, Michael J., 2003. "The determinants of household recycling: a material-specific analysis of recycling program features and unit pricing," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 294-318, March.
    19. Thomas C. Kinnaman, 2006. "Policy Watch: Examining the Justification for Residential Recycling," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 20(4), pages 219-232, Fall.
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