Economics at your fingertips  

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure: A comparative analysis of property rights in solid waste

Giuseppe Danese ()
Additional contact information
Giuseppe Danese: Católica Porto Business School – CEGE – Universidade Católica Portuguesa

No 2, Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) from Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa

Abstract: Previous literature has studied waste picking as an economic, social and environmental phenomenon of great importance in countries characterized by ineffective waste collection and recycling programs. The legal foundations of waste picking have, however, received little scholarly attention. Surveys conducted with waste pickers from 5 cities (Bogotá, Pune, Belo Horizonte, Durban, Nakuru) find that existing, and often hostile, regulations and competition from new entrants are key concerns for the waste pickers. In this paper, I argue that any system of legal rules that tries to exclude the waste pickers from the waste value chain results in high transaction costs and risks further aggravating existing social injustices. Several inclusive property right regimes are conceivable, from waste picker ownership of waste to a res nullius (nobody’s property) regime complemented by a right of first possession. Res nullius creates incentives for the stakeholders of waste to specialize in different segments of the collection and recycling chain. Possible drawbacks of this regime are dissipating rents because of open access to waste.

Keywords: property rights; solid waste; waste pickers; informal economy; res nullius (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: K11 O17 Q53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 33 pages
Date: 2017-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-agr, nep-env, nep-law and nep-res
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc

Downloads: (external link) First version (application/pdf)
Our link check indicates that this URL is bad, the error code is: 500 Can't connect to (A connection attempt failed because the connected party did not properly respond after a period of time, or established connection failed because connected host has failed to respond.)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in Working Papers de Economia (Economics Working Papers) from Católica Porto Business School, Universidade Católica Portuguesa Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Ricardo Goncalves ().

Page updated 2024-03-31
Handle: RePEc:cap:wpaper:022017