The Organization of Local Solid Waste and Recycling Markets: Public and Private Provision of Services

We study determinants of market organization of local public services by an empirical examination of one of the most visible municipal services, residential waste management. Using a multinomial logit model and data for 1,000 U.S. communities, we explore the effect of political influence, voter ideology, environmental constraints, production costs (i.e., "economies of density"), and contracting transaction costs on a community's choice of market arrangement for waste collection and recycling. We find that cost factors are a significant determinant of service delivery method. In contrast, few of the political variables are statistically significant. These results hold for our models of both waste and recycling, lending further evidence to the conclusion that local governments emphasize costs when choosing between private and public provision.

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Working or Discussion Paper
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JEL Codes:
Q20; H70
Series Statement:
Discussion Paper 02-35-REV

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2019-08-26

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