Promoting Recycling: Private Values, Social Norms, and Economic Incentives

16 Pages Posted: 14 Dec 2010

See all articles by W. Kip Viscusi

W. Kip Viscusi

Vanderbilt University - Law School; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics; Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management; Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics

Joel Huber

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Jason Bell

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business

Date Written: December 8, 2010

Abstract

Evidence from a nationally representative sample of households illuminates the determinants of recycling behavior for plastic water bottles. Private values of the environment are influential in promoting recycling, as are personal norms for pro-environmental behavior. However, social norms with respect to the assessment of the household’s recycling behaviors by others have little independent effect. Particularly influential are policies that create economic incentives to promote recycling either through state recycling laws that reduce the time and inconvenience costs of recycling or through bottle deposits. Effective policies can have a discontinuous effect at the individual level, transforming non-recyclers into avid recyclers.

Keywords: recycling, plastic water bottles

Suggested Citation

Viscusi, W. Kip and Huber, Joel and Bell, Jason, Promoting Recycling: Private Values, Social Norms, and Economic Incentives (December 8, 2010). American Economic Review, Vol. 101, No. 2, 2011; Vanderbilt Law and Economics Research Paper No. 10-36. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1724924

W. Kip Viscusi (Contact Author)

Vanderbilt University - Law School ( email )

131 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203-1181
United States
615-343-7715 (Phone)
615-322-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Vanderbilt University - Department of Economics

Box 1819 Station B
Nashville, TN 37235
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Owen Graduate School of Management

401 21st Avenue South
Nashville, TN 37203
United States
(615) 343-7715 (Phone)
(615) 343-5953 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://law.vanderbilt.edu/faculty/viscusi.htm

Vanderbilt University - Strategy and Business Economics ( email )

Nashville, TN 37203
United States

Joel Huber

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States
919-660-7785 (Phone)

Jason Bell

Duke University - Fuqua School of Business ( email )

Box 90120
Durham, NC 27708-0120
United States

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