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Assessing the effectiveness of voluntary solid waste reduction policies: methodology and a Flemish case study


  • Simon De Jaeger
  • Johan Eyckmans


The purpose of this paper is to illustrate the use of statistical techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of voluntary policy instruments for waste management. The voluntary character of these instruments implies that latent characteristics, unobserved by the analyst, might influence the participation decision and might lead to biased estimates of the effectiveness of the policy instrument if standard techniques are used. We propose an extension of the Difference-in-Differences estimator to evaluate the effectiveness of voluntary policy instruments. We illustrate the technique by estimating the effectiveness of voluntary cooperation agreements between the Flemish environmental administration and individual municipalities. We focus on agreements which aim at curbing residential solid waste. Using a dataset covering all 308 Flemish municipalities for the period 2000 - 2005, our results indicate that municipalities subscribing to the agreement reduced their waste level by less than what could be expected on the basis of their own performance prior to subscription and the performance of the non-subscribers. This result might be explained by rising marginal cost of extra residential solid waste reduction policies. In addition, there are indications that subscribing municipalities refrain from additional reduction efforts once the target waste level of the program is achieved.

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  • Simon De Jaeger & Johan Eyckmans, 2007. "Assessing the effectiveness of voluntary solid waste reduction policies: methodology and a Flemish case study," Working Papers Department of Economics ces0712, KU Leuven, Faculty of Economics and Business, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ete:ceswps:ces0712

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    1. De Borger, B. & Dunkerley, F. & Proost, S., 2007. "Strategic investment and pricing decisions in a congested transport corridor," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(2), pages 294-316, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Cecere, Grazia & Mancinelli, Susanna & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2014. "Waste prevention and social preferences: the role of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 107(C), pages 163-176.
    2. Cainelli, Giulio & D’Amato, Alessio & Mazzanti, Massimiliano, 2015. "Adoption of waste-reducing technology in manufacturing: Regional factors and policy issues," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 39(C), pages 53-67.
    3. Alessio D'Amato & Massimiliano Mazzanti & Francesco Nicolli, 2011. "Waste Sustainability, Environmental Management and Mafia: Analysing Geographical and Economic Dimensions," CEIS Research Paper 213, Tor Vergata University, CEIS, revised 24 Oct 2011.

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    Residential solid waste; difference-in-differences; voluntary agreements; municipalities; endogeneity bias.;

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