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Curbside Recycling: Waste Resource or Waste of Resources?

  • David Aadland

    (University of Wyoming)

  • Arthur J. Caplan

    (Utah State University)

In this paper, we estimate the social net benefits of curbside recycling. Benefits are estimated using survey data on household willingness to pay (WTP) from over 4,000 households across 40 western U.S. cities. We calibrate WTP for hypothetical bias using an experimental design that contrasts stated and revealed preferences. Cost estimates are compiled from previous studies by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Institute for Local Self Reliance, as well as from in-depth interviews with recycling coordinators in our sampled cities. Remarkably, we find that the estimated mean social net benefit of curbside recycling is almost exactly zero. Therefore, the decision of whether to implement or maintain a curbside recycling program (CRP) must be done on a city-by-city basis.

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File URL: http://128.118.178.162/eps/othr/papers/0310/0310001.pdf
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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Others with number 0310001.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 14 Oct 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwpot:0310001
Note: Type of Document - ; pages: 35
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://128.118.178.162

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  1. Fullerton, Don & Wu, Wenbo, 1998. "Policies for Green Design," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 36(2), pages 131-148, September.
  2. Jones-Lee, M W, 1992. "Paternalistic Altruism and the Value of Statistical Life," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 102(410), pages 80-90, January.
  3. Timothy C. Haab & Kenneth E. McConnell, . "Referendum Models and Negative Willingness to Pay: Alternative Solutions," Working Papers 9610, East Carolina University, Department of Economics.
  4. Laura O. Taylor & Ronald G. Cummings, 1999. "Unbiased Value Estimates for Environmental Goods: A Cheap Talk Design for the Contingent Valuation Method," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 89(3), pages 649-665, June.
  5. Caplan, Arthur J. & Grijalva, Therese C. & Jakus, Paul M., 2002. "Waste not or want not? A contingent ranking analysis of curbside waste disposal options," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2-3), pages 185-197, December.
  6. Adamowicz W. & Louviere J. & Williams M., 1994. "Combining Revealed and Stated Preference Methods for Valuing Environmental Amenities," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 26(3), pages 271-292, May.
  7. Flores, Nicholas E., 2002. "Non-paternalistic altruism and welfare economics," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(2), pages 293-305, February.
  8. Cameron, Trudy Ann & James, Michelle D, 1987. "Efficient Estimation Methods for "Closed-ended' Contingent Valuation Surveys," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 69(2), pages 269-76, May.
  9. David Aadland & Arthur J. Caplan, 2003. "Willingness to Pay for Curbside Recycling with Detection and Mitigation of Hypothetical Bias," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 85(2), pages 492-502.
  10. W. Michael Hanemann, 1994. "Valuing the Environment through Contingent Valuation," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 19-43, Fall.
  11. Li Chuan-Zhong & Mattsson Leif, 1995. "Discrete Choice under Preference Uncertainty: An Improved Structural Model for Contingent Valuation," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 256-269, March.
  12. John C. Whitehead, 2002. "Incentive Incompatibility and Starting-Point Bias in Iterative Valuation Questions," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 78(2), pages 285-297.
  13. Aadland, David & Caplan, Arthur J., 2003. "Cheap Talk Revisited: New Evidence From Cvm," 2003 Annual meeting, July 27-30, Montreal, Canada 22112, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
  14. Andreoni, James, 1990. "Impure Altruism and Donations to Public Goods: A Theory of Warm-Glow Giving?," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 100(401), pages 464-77, June.
  15. Peter A. Diamond & Jerry A. Hausman, 1994. "Contingent Valuation: Is Some Number Better than No Number?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 8(4), pages 45-64, Fall.
  16. David Aadland & Arthur Caplan, 1999. "Household Valuation of Curbside Recycling," Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 42(6), pages 781-799.
  17. 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.
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