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Privatization, cooperation and costs of solid waste services in small towns

Author

Listed:
  • Germà Bel

    () (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)

  • Xavier Fageda

    () (Faculty of Economics, University of Barcelona)

  • Melania Mur

    () (University of Zaragoza)

Abstract

This paper analyzes the cost implications of privatization and cooperation in the provision of solid waste services for a sample of small municipalities. In conducting this empirical analysis, a survey is first designed and administered to municipalities in the Spanish region of Aragon, and then an estimation of the determinants of service costs is undertaken, considering the possible endogeneity of delivery choices. Our findings indicate that cooperation is more effective than privatization in saving costs. Both production forms can enable small municipalities to cut costs by exploiting scale economies. However, the fact that inter-municipal cooperation involves lower transaction costs and is less likely to be affected by competition problems would seem to account for the fact that it is a more effective way of reducing costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Germà Bel & Xavier Fageda & Melania Mur, 2011. "Privatization, cooperation and costs of solid waste services in small towns," IREA Working Papers 201111, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Jul 2011.
  • Handle: RePEc:ira:wpaper:201111
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    File URL: http://www.ub.edu/irea/working_papers/2011/201111.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Germà Bel & Elbert Dijkgraaf & Xavier Fageda & Raymond Gradus, 2008. "Similar problems, different solutions: Comparing refuse collection in the Netherlands and Spain," IREA Working Papers 200815, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Nov 2008.
    2. Germa Manel Bel Queralt & Antonio Miralles, 2002. "Factors influencing privatization of urban solid waste collection: some evidence from Spain," Working Papers in Economics 74, Universitat de Barcelona. Espai de Recerca en Economia.
    3. 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.
    4. Germà Bel & Mildred Warner, 2008. "Challenging Issues in Local Privatization," Environment and Planning C, , vol. 26(1), pages 104-109, February.
    5. Germà Bel & Xavier Fageda, 2009. "Factors explaining local privatization: a meta-regression analysis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(1), pages 105-119, April.
    6. Jonathan Levin & Steven Tadelis, 2010. "CONTRACTING FOR GOVERNMENT SERVICES: THEORY AND EVIDENCE FROM U.S. CITIES -super-," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 58(3), pages 507-541, September.
    7. 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 438-448, August.
    8. Bel Germà & Fageda Xavier & E. Mildred, 2014. "Is private production of public services cheaper than public production? A meta-regression analysis of solid waste and water services," Public administration issues, Higher School of Economics, issue 3, pages 103-140.
    9. E. Dijkgraaf & R. Gradus, 2003. "Cost Savings of Contracting Out Refuse Collection," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 149-161, June.
    10. Germa Bel & Anton Costas, 2006. "Do Public Sector Reforms Get Rusty? Local Privatization in Spain," Journal of Economic Policy Reform, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 9(1), pages 1-24.
    11. Henry Ohlsson, 2003. "Ownership and Production Costs: Choosing between Public Production and Contracting-Out in the Case of Swedish Refuse Collection," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 24(4), pages 451-476, December.
    12. Mildred Warner & Robert Hebdon, 2001. "Local Government Restructuring: Privatization and Its Alternatives," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 20(2), pages 315-336.
    13. Scott J. Callan & Janet M. Thomas, 2001. "Economies of Scale and Scope: A Cost Analysis of Municipal Solid Waste Services," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 77(4), pages 548-560.
    14. Trevor L. Brown & Matthew Potoski, 2003. "Managing contract performance: A transaction costs approach," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(2), pages 275-297.
    15. Germà Bel & Xavier Fageda, 2009. "Empirical analysis of solid management waste costs: Some evidence from Galicia, Spain," IREA Working Papers 200907, University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics, revised Apr 2009.
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    Cited by:

    1. Christian Bergholz & Ivo Bischoff, 2016. "Local council members’ view on inter-municipal cooperation: Does office-related self interest matter?," MAGKS Papers on Economics 201647, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Faculty of Business Administration and Economics, Department of Economics (Volkswirtschaftliche Abteilung).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Privatization; cooperation; costs; solid waste. JEL classification:L33; R51; H72.;

    JEL classification:

    • R51 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Finance in Urban and Rural Economies

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