Waste Disposal and Decentralisation: A Welfare Approach
16 Pages Posted: 6 Jan 2015
Date Written: December 30, 2014
Since the seminal work of Oates (1972) on fiscal federalism, a central question of public finance has been which level of a federation should be assigned the provision of public goods. In this paper we study the problem of a government that is to choose the optimal centralization/decentralization mechanism for the final treatment of municipal solid waste. We analyze incentives, equilibria and implications of the governance framework for the disposal of waste. The key decisions revolve around the mobility of waste and the externalities (pollution) associated with its disposal, be it incineration or landfill. Moreover, if the Regions are characterized by different levels of efficiency in the processes they apply to the final treatment of waste, in theory a certain degree of waste mobility across regions should allow to reap the benefits of higher efficiency. On the other hand, as transportation and other environmental costs implied by mobility and concentration are significant, a trade-off emerges. Our model evaluates the implications of that trade-off for the optimal degree of decentralization in waste management.
Keywords: waste disposal, cross border shopping, decentralisation, welfare
JEL Classification: H70, D62, Q20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation