The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006)

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Abstract

Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. This paper reports the results of a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was reduced from daily to twice a week during a three-month period. Using high-frequency data on litter at treated and control locations before, during, and after the experiment, we find strong evidence that litter begets litter. However, we also find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTilburg
PublisherTILEC
Number of pages29
Volume2012-024
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Publication series

NameTILEC Discussion Paper
Volume2012-024

Fingerprint

Disposal
Field experiment
Cleaning
Household
High-frequency data
Natural field experiment
Experimental study
Experiment
Free-riding

Keywords

  • littering
  • public services
  • free-riding
  • field experiment

Cite this

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title = "The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006)",
abstract = "Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. This paper reports the results of a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was reduced from daily to twice a week during a three-month period. Using high-frequency data on litter at treated and control locations before, during, and after the experiment, we find strong evidence that litter begets litter. However, we also find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished.",
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The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006). / Dur, R.; Vollaard, B.A.

Tilburg : TILEC, 2012. (TILEC Discussion Paper; Vol. 2012-024).

Research output: Working paperDiscussion paperOther research output

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N2 - Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. This paper reports the results of a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was reduced from daily to twice a week during a three-month period. Using high-frequency data on litter at treated and control locations before, during, and after the experiment, we find strong evidence that litter begets litter. However, we also find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished.

AB - Abstract: Field-experimental studies have shown that people litter more in more littered environments. Inspired by these findings, many cities around the world have adopted policies to quickly remove litter. While such policies may avoid that people follow the bad example of litterers, they may also invite free-riding on public cleaning services. This paper reports the results of a natural field experiment where, in a randomly assigned part of a residential area, the frequency of cleaning was reduced from daily to twice a week during a three-month period. Using high-frequency data on litter at treated and control locations before, during, and after the experiment, we find strong evidence that litter begets litter. However, we also find evidence that some people start to clean up after themselves when public cleaning services are diminished.

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KW - public services

KW - free-riding

KW - field experiment

M3 - Discussion paper

VL - 2012-024

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BT - The Power of a Bad Example – A Field Experiment in Household Garbage Disposal (replaced by TILEC DP 2013-006)

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