Scholarly Comments on Academic Economics

Do Economists Reach a Conclusion on Household and Municipal Recycling?

by

Abstract

Do economists reach a conclusion on household and municipal recycling? I explore the policy judgments of published economists on recycling and find that there is no broad consensus. The mainstream recycling literature is dominated by a guided-market approach; taxes and subsidies are advocated to correct for market failures. There are two less popular but still significant approaches: a minimal government laissez faire approach and a command and control regulatory approach. Laissez faire economists advocate little or no government intervention in recycling and waste management markets. Command and control economists usually advocate mandatory recycling and regulation. The paper concludes with a brief critique of the interventionist policies.