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The Cold Shiver of Not Giving Enough: On the Social Cost of Recycling Campaigns

  • Annegrete Bruvoll
  • Karine Nyborg

Governments sometimes try to increase individuals’ contributions to public goods through appeals to consumer responsibility, rather than by economic incentives, for example in recycling campaigns. Using standard consumer theory, one would hardly expect such campaigns to work at all; but if consumers are motivated by norms, appeals may work through changing consumers’ perception of the normrequirement.However, increasing voluntary contributions through appeals may come at a social cost. The reason is that appeals work through imposing a heavier (perceived) responsibility on consumers. This represents a welfare loss, which is not necessarily outweighed by “warm glow” benefits.

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File URL: http://le.uwpress.org/cgi/reprint/80/4/539
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Article provided by University of Wisconsin Press in its journal Land Economics.

Volume (Year): 80 (2004)
Issue (Month): 4 ()
Pages:

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Handle: RePEc:uwp:landec:v:80:y:2004:i:4:p539-549
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  1. Tiller, Kelly & Jakus, Paul M. & Park, William M., 1997. "Household Willingness To Pay For Dropoff Recycling," Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Western Agricultural Economics Association, vol. 22(02), December.
  2. Karine Nyborg & Mari Rege, 2001. "Does Public Policy Crowd Out Private Contributions to Public Goods?," Discussion Papers 300, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  3. George L. Van Houtven & Glenn E. Morris, 1999. "Household Behavior under Alternative Pay-as-You-Throw Systems for Solid Waste Disposal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 75(4), pages 515-537.
  4. Annegrete Bruvoll & Karine Nyborg, 2002. "On the value of households' recycling efforts," Discussion Papers 316, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  5. Hong Seonghoon & Adams Richard M. & Love H. Alan, 1993. "An Economic Analysis of Household Recycling of Solid Wastes: The Case of Portland, Oregon," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 25(2), pages 136-146, September.
  6. Hornik, Jacob & Cherian, Joseph & Madansky, Michelle & Narayana, Chem, 1995. "Determinants of recycling behavior: A synthesis of research results," Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics), Elsevier, vol. 24(1), pages 105-127.
  7. Fullerton, Don & Kinnaman, Thomas C, 1996. "Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 971-84, September.
  8. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  9. Nyborg, Karine, 2000. "Project analysis as input to public debate: Environmental valuation versus physical unit indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 393-408, September.
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