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The influence of local waste management culture on individual recycling behavior

  • Kountouris, Y
Publication Date
Jun 06, 2022
UPCommons. Portal del coneixement obert de la UPC
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The transition towards sustainable consumption and production requires public engagement and support. In this context, understanding the determinants of individual pro-environmental behavior can assist in sustainability policy design, and contribute to explaining cross-country and regional differences in its implementation and effectiveness. This paper examines the influence of local waste management culture on individual recycling behavior. To isolate the impact of location-specific norms, habits and traditions comprising waste management culture from the confounding effect of contemporaneous local economic and social conditions, we use data from over 40,000 domestic immigrants in Greece. Estimating models relating individual recycling activity in the region of current residence to recycling practices in the region of origin, we find robust evidence that region of origin waste management practices have quantitatively and statistically significant influence on individual recycling behavior: a 10 percentage point increase in the prevalence of recycling in the region of origin, increases the probability a subject recycles by 0.9 percentage points. The results suggest that locally prevailing waste management norms and practices influence individual recycling behavior independently of local economic, social and environmental circumstances. Designing effective sustainability policy may need to account for regional variation in norms and preferences, and encourage investment in the development of sustainable waste management culture.

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