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Does Waste Management Policy Crowd out Social and Moral Motives for Recycling?

Author

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  • Paul Missios

    () (Department of Economics, Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada)

  • Ida Ferrara

    () (Department of Economics, York University, Toronto, Canada)

Abstract

In this paper, we consider households' decision of whether to recycle within a theoretical framework that allows for the inclusion of social and moral motivations. The former comes from valuing social approval while the latter comes from valuing self-image. In the context of our theoretical framework, we introduce a unit pricing system and, separately, mandatory recycling and analyze how each affects the equilibrium in terms of whether a society recycles. We show that a unit pricing system enhances the effect of intrinsic motivation (there is crowding in) while mandatory recycling erodes it (there is crowding out) provided that the marginal utility of self-image falls short of the cost of recycling relative to the environmental benefit of living in a society in which everyone recycles. If mandatory recycling is accompanied by an improvement in recycling services that applies to all recyclables and not just the mandated recyclables, crowding out becomes less likely to occur; if the improved services only apply to the mandated recyclables, there is however no effect on the potential for crowding out. Using an international household-level data set, we find support for the hypothesis that mandatory recycling can lead to crowding out while unit pricing does and, to some extent, can relate the potential for crowding out to higher recycling costs.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Missios & Ida Ferrara, 2012. "Does Waste Management Policy Crowd out Social and Moral Motives for Recycling?," Working Papers 031, Ryerson University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:rye:wpaper:wp031
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    File URL: http://economics.ryerson.ca/workingpapers/wp031.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Kjell Arne Brekke & Gorm Kipperberg & Karine Nyborg, 2010. "Social Interaction in Responsibility Ascription: The Case of Household Recycling," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 86(4), pages 766-784.
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    3. Nyborg, Karine & Howarth, Richard B. & Brekke, Kjell Arne, 2006. "Green consumers and public policy: On socially contingent moral motivation," Resource and Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 351-366, November.
    4. Andreoni, James & Payne, A. Abigail, 2011. "Is crowding out due entirely to fundraising? Evidence from a panel of charities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(5), pages 334-343.
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    9. Brekke, Kjell Arne & Kverndokk, Snorre & Nyborg, Karine, 2003. "An economic model of moral motivation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(9-10), pages 1967-1983, September.
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    Cited by:

    1. Heinz Welsch & Jan K├╝hling, 2016. "Green status seeking and endogenous reference standards," Environmental Economics and Policy Studies, Springer;Society for Environmental Economics and Policy Studies - SEEPS, vol. 18(4), pages 625-643, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Unit Pricing; Mandatory Recycling; Social Motivation; Moral Motivation; Crowding in; Crowding out;

    JEL classification:

    • D03 - Microeconomics - - General - - - Behavioral Microeconomics: Underlying Principles
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods
    • Q53 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Air Pollution; Water Pollution; Noise; Hazardous Waste; Solid Waste; Recycling

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