Reducing the quantity of waste is an objective pursued by an increasing number of governments. Pricing waste has been one of the most important tools used for that purpose, and the literature on the demand for household waste disposal shows a wide diversity of price elasticity calculations. We explore this issue by means of a meta-analysis on a database of 25 studies. This allows us analyzing which is the effect on the results of different data, model specification and (statistical) methods. We find no evidence that either treating prices as exogenous or including curbside recycling effects in the model influence price elasticity. There are some indications that price elasticities in the USA are more elastic, and that municipal data provide higher estimates than household data. We find that much of the variation in elasticities is associated with substantial methods; in particular it can be explained by the use of a weight-based system and by the pricing of compostable waste. In contrast, the bag-based system does not present a significant relation with elasticity. Finally, our results do not find evidence of publication bias, while they do indicate some evidence of the existence of a true empirical effect.
G. Bel, R. Gradus
Resource and Energy Economics