Behavioral spillovers from food-waste collection in Swedish municipalities

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We estimate behavioral spillovers from environmental policy within the context of a natural experiment on food waste in Sweden. Exploiting the staggered implementation of food-waste collection across Swedish municipalities, we use a difference-in-difference design to measure the causal effect of introducing such collection on another pro-environmental behavior, namely the sorting of packaging waste. Results suggest a positive spillover effect on packaging waste which corresponds to 5–10% of the population average and rises gradually over time, possibly due to slow implementation of food-waste collection in many municipalities. These estimates are unconfounded with a number of shifts in the waste-related incentives facing households, e.g. introduction of curbside collection of packaging waste from single-family homes. Although we are unable to directly account for all such factors, indirect robustness tests provide no compelling evidence that estimated spillovers are spurious.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-186
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Environmental Economics and Management
Publication statusPublished - 2018 May 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Environmental Management


  • Behavioral spillovers
  • Environmental behavior
  • Food waste
  • Packaging waste
  • Recycling


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