Contracting out refuse collection in The Netherlands

E. Dijkgraaf*, R. H.J.M. Gradus, B. Melenberg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


In this chapter we seek an explanation for the reservations of local authorities towardcontracting out. Although empirical evidence suggests that contracting out results in a significant cost decrease, a majority of Dutch municipalities provides for waste collection services themselves. Based on theoretical insights we model the choice between private, public, in-house, and out-house refuse collection. The models are estimated using a database comprising nearly all Dutch municipalities. We find evidence that the number of inhabitants, the transfer by central government, and interest group arguments are important explanations. Interestingly, ideology seems to play a minor role. Compared to earlier studies we estimate more general models. Although the same qualitative results are found for parametric and semiparametric models, we find strong statistical evidence that a parametric specification is far too inflexible. Differences between the parametric and the semiparametric marginal effects are substantial. Thus, more attention is needed for the implications of model specification.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Waste Market
Subtitle of host publicationInstitutional Developments in Europe
PublisherSpringer Netherlands
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9781402087103
Publication statusPublished - 2008


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