Contracting Out Refuse Collection in The Netherlands

  • E. Dijkgraaf
  • R.H.J.M. Gradus
  • B. Melenberg


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.


Refuse collection institutional choice ideology interest groups semiparametric estimation 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. Dijkgraaf
    • 1
  • R.H.J.M. Gradus
    • 2
  • B. Melenberg
    • 3
  1. 1.SEOR-ECRiErasmus University RotterdamDR RotterdamThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and Business AdministrationVU University AmsterdamThe Netherlands
  3. 3.Tilburg University5000 LE TilburgThe Netherlands

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