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The Organization of Local Solid Waste and Recycling Markets: Public and Private Provision of Services

  • Macauley, Molly


    (Resources for the Future)

  • Walls, Margaret


    (Resources for the Future)

  • Anderson, Soren

We study determinants of market organization of local public services by an empiricalexamination of one of the most visible municipal services, residential waste management. Usinga multinomial logit model and data for 1,000 U.S. communities, we explore the effect of politicalinfluence, voter ideology, environmental constraints, production costs (i.e., “economies ofdensity”), and contracting transaction costs on a community’s choice of market arrangement forwaste collection and recycling. We find that cost factors are a significant determinant of servicedelivery method. In contrast, few of the political variables are statistically significant. Theseresults hold for our models of both waste and recycling, lending further evidence to theconclusion that local governments emphasize costs when choosing between private and publicprovision.

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Paper provided by Resources For the Future in its series Discussion Papers with number dp-02-35-rev.

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Date of creation: 01 May 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:rff:dpaper:dp-02-35-rev
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  1. Dubin, Jeffrey A. & Navarro, Peter., 1987. "How Markets for Impure Public Goods Organize: The Case of Household Refuse Collection," Working Papers 633, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Edwards, Franklin R & Stevens, Barbara J, 1978. "The Provision of Municipal Sanitation Services by Private Firms: An Empirical Analysis of the Efficiency of Alternative Market Structures and Regulatory Arrangements," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(2), pages 133-47, December.
  3. Williamson, Oliver E, 1979. "Transaction-Cost Economics: The Governance of Contractural Relations," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 233-61, October.
  4. Williamson, Oliver E, 1999. "Public and Private Bureaucracies: A Transaction Cost Economics Perspective," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 306-42, April.
  5. Wayne Carroll, 1995. "The Organization and Efficiency of Residential Recycling Services," Eastern Economic Journal, Eastern Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 215-225, Spring.
  6. Boycko, Maxim & Shleifer, Andrei & Vishny, Robert W, 1996. "A Theory of Privatisation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 106(435), pages 309-19, March.
  7. Oliver Hart & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1997. "The Proper Scope of Government: Theory and an Application to Prisons," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1127-1161.
  8. Florencio Lopez-deSilanes & Andrei Shleifer & Rober Vishny, 1995. "Privatization in the United States," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1723, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  9. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
  10. 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.
  11. George J. Stigler, 1971. "The Theory of Economic Regulation," Bell Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 2(1), pages 3-21, Spring.
  12. Nelson, Michael A, 1997. "Municipal Government Approaches to Service Delivery: An Analysis from a Transactions Cost Perspective," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 35(1), pages 82-96, January.
  13. Edlin, Aaron S & Hermalin, Benjamin E, 2000. "Contract Renegotiation and Options in Agency Problems," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(2), pages 395-423, October.
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