Using Objective Characteristics to Target Household Recycling Policies

November 2023
ELR 10804A
Joel Huber, W. Kip Viscusi, and Jason Bell

Using the most comprehensive data set on U.S. household recycling behavior, this Comment quantifies the relative impact on recycling of characteristics associated with recycling in different populations, under different governmental rules, and having different facilitating resources and amenities. Specifically, it presents a deep dive into a long-term data set on the personal,  household, community, and state characteristics that are most influential, thus highlighting the relative performance of different policies as well as gaps in recycling behavior that can serve as potential targets for improvement. The depth of the analysis derives from a U.S. data set that includes more than 380,000 observations of annual household recycling behavior, based on information for more than 145,000 nationally representative households in nearly 3,000 counties across 50 states (plus the District of Columbia) spanning 10 years. The breadth of the analysis comes from many variables that reflect individual, household, county, and state characteristics.

Joel Huber is a Professor in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. W. Kip Viscusi is University Distinguished Professor of Law, Economics, and Management at Vanderbilt Law School. Jason Bell is a Research Associate in the Fuqua School of Business.

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Using Objective Characteristics to Target Household Recycling Policies

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