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Similar problems, different solutions: Comparing refuse collection in the Netherlands and Spain

Germà Bel (), Elbert Dijkgraaf (), Xavier Fageda and Raymond Gradus ()

No 200815, IREA Working Papers from University of Barcelona, Research Institute of Applied Economics

Abstract: Local public service provision can vary greatly because of differences in institutional arrangements, public service markets, and national traditions regarding government intervention. In this paper we compare the procedures adopted by the local governments of the Netherlands and Spain in arranging for the provision of solid waste collection. We find that Spain faces a consolidation problem, opting more frequently to implement policies of privatization and cooperation, at the expense of competition. By contrast, the Netherlands has, on average, larger municipalities, resorting somewhat less to privatization and cooperation, and more to competition. The two options - cooperation and competition - have their merits when striving to strike a balance between transaction costs and scale economies. The choices made in organizational reform seem to be related to several factors, among which the nature of the political system and the size of municipalities appear to be relevant.

Keywords: Local governments; contracting-out; privatization; inter-municipal cooperation. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 27 pages
Date: 2008-11, Revised 2008-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pbe
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