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A Statistical Estimation of an Operating Cost Function for Municipal Refuse Collection


  • Harry M. Kitchen

    (Trent University, Ontario)


This study is both an attempt to isolate those factors which contribute to the variation in average unit costs of collecting refuse and an attempt to examine the extent to which economies of scale exist. The model employed states that the average per capita cost to a municipality is a function of five categories of factors. Within the categories, a number of variables were postulated to have some significant effect on the per unit cost. However, the unavailability of some data and lack of variation in other data reduced the actual model so that in the final analysis ten variables were found to significantly affect costs. The results from the sample indicated that average costs increased in municipalities with populations of up to 324,000 and only began to fall when cities exceeded this size. A number of other variables exerted in one direction or another a significant effect on costs. A further statistical analysis of this sort may prove to be rather fruitless. What is perhaps needed is a more in-depth descriptive analysis of the institutional implications of the factors affecting the whole operation of refuse collection.

Suggested Citation

  • Harry M. Kitchen, 1976. "A Statistical Estimation of an Operating Cost Function for Municipal Refuse Collection," Public Finance Review, , vol. 4(1), pages 56-76, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:pubfin:v:4:y:1976:i:1:p:56-76

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