2020/12: Political cycles and yardstick competition in the recycling of waste. Evidence from Italian provinces
Recycling and the recovery of waste are crucial waste management strategies. In light of the new EU circular economy approach, these strategies remain core pillars of a competitive and sustainable waste value chain. Local governments have an important role in controlling and checking the implementation of waste management policies. We study the spatial determinants of waste recovery by using a dataset of 102 Italian provinces from the years 2001-2014. We exploit the political cycle of the provinces to isolate the effects of waste recovery in one province on neighboring provinces. We find that provinces mimic their own neighbors’ in the separate collection of waste aimed at recycling and recovery, with this effect being fully guided by provinces where the president can run for re-election (consistent with the yardstick competition hypothesis) but only when waste management policies become politically salient, that is, after the transposition of the 2008 EU Waste Framework Directive.