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Garbage and Recycling in Communities with Curbside Recycling and Unit-Based Pricing


  • Thomas C. Kinnaman
  • Don Fullerton


This paper estimates the impact of a user fee and a curbside recycling program on garbage and recycling amounts, allowing for the possibility of endogenous policy choices. Previous estimates of the effects of these policies could be biased if unobserved variables such as local preference for the environment jointly impact the probability of implementing these policies and the levels of garbage and recycling collected in the community. A simple sequential model of local policymaking is estimated using original data gathered from a large cross-section of communities with user fees, combined with an even larger cross-section of towns without user fees but with and without curbside recycling programs. The combined data set is larger and more comprehensive than any used in previous studies. Without correction for endogenous policy, the price per unit of garbage collection has a negative effect on garbage and a positive cross-price effect on recycling. When we correct for endogenous policy, then the effect of the user fee on garbage increases, and the significance of the cross-price effect on recycling disappears.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas C. Kinnaman & Don Fullerton, 1997. "Garbage and Recycling in Communities with Curbside Recycling and Unit-Based Pricing," NBER Working Papers 6021, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:6021
    Note: PE

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Fullerton Don & Kinnaman Thomas C., 1995. "Garbage, Recycling, and Illicit Burning or Dumping," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 78-91, July.
    2. Fullerton, Don & Kinnaman, Thomas C, 1996. "Household Responses to Pricing Garbage by the Bag," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(4), pages 971-984, September.
    3. James D. Reschovsky & Sarah E. Stone, 1994. "Market incentives to encourage household waste recycling: Paying for what you throw away," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(1), pages 120-139.
    4. Poirier, Dale J. & Ruud, Paul A., 1981. "On the appropriateness of endogenous switching," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 16(2), pages 249-256, June.
    5. G. Strathman & Anthony M. Rufolo & Gerard C. S. Mildner, 1995. "The Demand for Solid Waste Disposal," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 71(1), pages 57-64.
    6. Robin R. Jenkins, 1993. "The Economics Of Solid Waste Reduction," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 248.
    7. Richardson, Robert A. & Havlicek, Joseph Jr., 1978. "Economic analysis of the composition of household solid wastes," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 5(1), pages 103-111, March.
    8. Marie Lynn Miranda & Jess W. Everett & Daniel Blume & Barbeau A. Roy, 1994. "Market-based incentives and residential municipal solid waste," Journal of Policy Analysis and Management, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 681-698.
    9. 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.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kinnaman, Thomas C. & Fullerton, Don, 2000. "Garbage and Recycling with Endogenous Local Policy," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(3), pages 419-442, November.
    2. Dijkgraaf, E. & Gradus, R. H. J. M., 2004. "Cost savings in unit-based pricing of household waste: The case of The Netherlands," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 26(4), pages 353-371, December.
    3. Linderhof, Vincent & Kooreman, Peter & Allers, Maarten & Wiersma, Doede, 2001. "Weight-based pricing in the collection of household waste: the Oostzaan case," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 359-371, October.
    4. Thomas C. Kinnaman & Don Fullterton, 1999. "The Economics of Residential Solid Waste Management," NBER Working Papers 7326, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Dijkgraaf, Elbert & Gradus, Raymond, 2009. "Environmental activism and dynamics of unit-based pricing systems," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 31(1), pages 13-23, January.
    6. Geum-Soo Kim & Young-Jae Chang & David Kelleher, 2008. "Unit pricing of municipal solid waste and illegal dumping: an empirical analysis of Korean experience," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 9(3), pages 167-176, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H71 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - State and Local Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • Q28 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation - - - Government Policy


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