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Public Policies for Households Recycling when Reputation Matters

Ankinée Kirakozian () and Christophe Charlier ()

No 2015-20, GREDEG Working Papers from Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis

Abstract: An important strand in the economic literature focuses on how to provide the right incentives for households to recycle their waste. A growing number of studies, inspired by psychology, seeks to explain waste sorting and pro-environmental behavior, and highlights the importance of social approval and the peer effect. The present theoretical work explores these issues. We propose a model that considers heterogeneous households that choose to recycle, based on three main household characteristics: their environmental preferences, the opportunity costs of their tax expenditure, and their reputation. The model is original in depicting the interactions among households, which enable them to form beliefs about social recycling norm allowing them to assess their reputation. These interactions are explored through Agent-based simulations. We highlight how individual recycling decisions depend on these interactions and how the effectiveness of public policies related to recycling is affected by a crowding-out effect. The model simulations consider three complementary policies: provision of incentives to recycle through taxation; provision of information on the importance of selective sorting; and an ‘individualized’ approach that takes the form of a ‘nudge’ using social comparison. Interestingly, the results regarding these policies emerging from households interactions at the aggregate level cannot be fully predicted from “isolated” individual recycling decisions.

Keywords: Household recycling; Waste; Environmental regulation; Behavioral economics; ABM; Social interaction (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D10 D03 Q53 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-cmp, nep-env, nep-res, nep-soc and nep-ure
Date: 2015-05, Revised 2018-11
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Downloads: (external link) Revised version, November 2018 (application/pdf)

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