Modest and Incomplete Incentives may work: Pricing plastic bags in Uruguay

Published: 19 November 2021| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/r25rj535wj.1
Marcelo Caffera


These files contain data and code to replicate the findings from the paper "Modest and incomplete incentives may work: Pricing plastic bags in Uruguay", Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Volume 110, October 2021, by José María Cabrera, Marcelo Caffera, and Alejandro Cid. Abstract. We study the impact of voluntary prices on the demand for plastic bags, using two years of administrative data from a national supermarket chain in Uruguay. We find that prices of US$ 0.07 and US$ 0.10 per unit decreased the number of bags used by its customers in the range of 70% to 85%. We also find that in anticipation of the price, customers increased the use of bags by up to 38% in some branches before its implementation. This result has strong implications for future studies, regarding the need to use long pre-periods. According to our data, short pre periods could bias upward the estimation of the effect of the prices by up to 41%. Finally, we do not find evidence consistent with the supermarket suffering a loss of sales, due to clients moving to stores not pricing the bags. The fact that the supermarket is a discount chain (clients are more price sensitive) and that it seems to have chosen the cities and towns in which it had more market share to rollout the prices, may inform policy makers about the conditions under which incomplete and moderate incentives may work.


Steps to reproduce

The replication folder contains 9 datasets, and 17 Stata .do files, and all the required .ado programs from the SSC (the contributed commands from the Boston College Statistical Software Components archive). Some datasets are administrative data which belongs to a third party. The file "0-" sets the working directories. It can also run the whole replication. Anyway, you can run each individual .do file after setting the global path for the folders. The document "Map of Tables and Figures.pdf" explains in detail the link between each .do file and the corresponding Figure or Table from the paper. The replication folder is self contained. All Stata packages are included in a special folder, so you don't need to install anything. Hope you find this material useful. Feel free to contact us if you need help.


Universidad de Montevideo


Economics, Environmental Policy, Environmental Economics