Do e-waste laws create behavioral spillovers? Quasi-experimental evidence from California

Many governing bodies have launched efforts to shape the operations of manufacturers, administration of civic entities, and behavior of individuals to limit waste generation. Typically, such efforts commence with the enactment of targeted legislations that create operational changes (e.g., recycling fees, collection centers) to the waste collection and disposal processes. For example, over 25 states in the United States have enacted legislations that aim to properly dispose used electronic and electrical goods (i.e., e-waste) and divert such waste away from landfills. We argue that such legislations can have an impact that extends beyond just reducing e-waste. This is because such laws may not only motivate individuals to restrict e-waste but also induce broader behavioral spillovers that can prompt individuals to reduce waste in general. To explore this idea, we exploit a quasi-experimental setup that arises from California's enactment of the Electronic Waste Recycling Act (EWRA). Specifically, a difference-in-differences analysis reveals that the introduction and implementation of the EWRA resulted in at least 4.93% reduction in municipal solid waste (MSW). A plausibility analysis illustrates that these MSW reductions are much larger than what can be attributed purely to the decline of e-waste. Furthermore, we show that the effect of e-waste laws is stronger when consumers have increased market access through (i) online connectivity and (ii) offline proximity. Our study informs policy makers on the effects of e-waste legislation and the critical role of market access in enhancing the impact of such legislation.

This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Dhanorkar, S. and Muthulingam, S.(2020) "Do E-Waste Laws Create Behavioral Spillovers? Quasi-Experimental Evidence from California". Production and Operations Management, 29, 1738-1766, which has been published in final form at This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions. This article may not be enhanced, enriched or otherwise transformed into a derivative work, without express permission from Wiley or by statutory rights under applicable legislation. Copyright notices must not be removed, obscured or modified. The article must be linked to Wiley’s version of record on Wiley Online Library and any embedding, framing or otherwise making available the article or pages thereof by third parties from platforms, services and websites other than Wiley Online Library must be prohibited.



Work Title Do e-waste laws create behavioral spillovers? Quasi-experimental evidence from California
Open Access
  1. Suvrat Dhanorkar
  2. Suresh Muthulingam
  1. E-Waste laws
  2. Behavioral spillovers
  3. Online connectivity
  4. Offline proximity
  5. Quasi-experiment
License In Copyright (Rights Reserved)
Work Type Article
  1. Production and Operations Management
Publication Date April 8, 2020
Publisher Identifier (DOI)
Deposited August 04, 2022




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Work History

Version 1

  • Created
  • Added FinalManuscriptPOM-Mar-19-OA-0195.pdf
  • Added Creator Suvrat Dhanorkar
  • Added Creator Suresh Muthulingam
  • Published
  • Updated Keyword Show Changes
    • E-Waste laws, Behavioral spillovers, Online connectivity, Offline proximity, Quasi-experiment
  • Updated