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Contracting out refuse collection

  • E. Dijkgraaf
  • R. H. J. M. Gradus
  • B. Melenberg

In this paper we seek an explanation for the reservations of local authorities towards contracting out. Although empirical evidence suggests that contracting out results in a significant cost decrease, a majority of Dutch municipalities provides for waste collection services themselves. Based on theoretical insights we model the choice between private, public, in-house, and out-house refuse collection. The models are estimated using a database comprising nearly all Dutch municipalities. We find evidence that the number of inhabitants, the transfer by central government, and interest group arguments are important explanations. Interestingly, ideology seems to play a minor role. Compared to earlier studies we estimate more general models. Although the same qualitative results are found for parametric and semiparametric models, we find strong statistical evidence that a parametric specification is far too inflexible. Differences between the parametric and the semiparametric marginal effects are substantial. Thus, more attention is needed for the implications of model specification. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s001810200145
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Empirical Economics.

Volume (Year): 28 (2003)
Issue (Month): 3 (July)
Pages: 553-570

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Handle: RePEc:spr:empeco:v:28:y:2003:i:3:p:553-570
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  1. Ohlsson, Henry, 1998. "Ownership and Production Costs - Choosing Between Public Production and Contracting Out," Working Paper Series 1998:6, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Florencio Lopez-de-Silane & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1995. "Privatization in the United States," NBER Working Papers 5113, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Ruud, Paul A., 1984. "Tests of Specification in Econometrics," Department of Economics, Working Paper Series qt4kq8m0hf, Department of Economics, Institute for Business and Economic Research, UC Berkeley.
  4. Nuria Bosch Roca & Francisco Pedraja & Javier Suarez Pandiello, 1999. "Measuring the efficiency in spanish municipal refuse collection services," Working Papers in Economics 46, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
  5. Domberger, Simon & Jensen, Paul, 1997. "Contracting Out by the Public Sector: Theory, Evidence, Prospects," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(4), pages 67-78, Winter.
  6. Manski, Charles F., 1985. "Semiparametric analysis of discrete response : Asymptotic properties of the maximum score estimator," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 313-333, March.
  7. Stefan Szymanski, 1996. "The impact of compulsory competitive tendering on refuse collection services," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 17(3), pages 1-19, August.
  8. Klein, Roger W & Spady, Richard H, 1993. "An Efficient Semiparametric Estimator for Binary Response Models," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 61(2), pages 387-421, March.
  9. Buchanan, James M., 1986. "The Constitution of Economic Policy," Nobel Prize in Economics documents 1986-1, Nobel Prize Committee.
  10. Newey, Whitney K, 1985. "Maximum Likelihood Specification Testing and Conditional Moment Tests," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 53(5), pages 1047-70, September.
  11. Ichimura, H., 1991. "Semiparametric Least Squares (sls) and Weighted SLS Estimation of Single- Index Models," Papers 264, Minnesota - Center for Economic Research.
  12. Eoin Reeves & Michael Barrow, 2000. "The Impact of Contracting Out on the Costs of Refuse Collection Services - The Case of Ireland," The Economic and Social Review, Economic and Social Studies, vol. 31(2), pages 129-150.
  13. Stevens, Barbara J, 1978. "Scale, Market Structure, and the Cost of Refuse Collection," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 60(3), pages 438-48, August.
  14. Domberger, S & Meadowcroft, S & Thompson, D J, 1986. "Competitive tendering and efficiency: the case of refuse collection," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 7(4), pages 69-87, November.
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