Curbside Collection and Participation in Household Waste Recycling: A Causal Analysis
22 Pages Posted: 4 Mar 2015
Date Written: October 3, 2014
This paper estimates the causal effect of reducing behavioral costs of participation in household waste recycling. We use panel data collected in three city districts in Cologne, Germany (n=1567), in one of which a curbside scheme replaced the traditional bring scheme between observations. Using propensity score matching and triple-differences-estimation we are able to identify the causal effect of curbside collection, its variation between types of recyclables, and its elasticity with regard to the distance to collection containers in the bring scheme condition. We find that a curbside scheme is most effective for plastics, metal cans and packaging but less so for paper. Furthermore, the effect of implementing a curbside scheme is stronger when the initial distance to a collection container has been greater. The results of our causal analysis therefore have important implications for effective and cost-efficient implementation of environmental protection policies.
Keywords: environmental behavior, environmental policy, recycling, natural experiment, propensity score matching, differences in differences, causal analysis
JEL Classification: C01, C93, Q53
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