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Social Entrepreneurship: An Evidence-Based Approach to Creating Social Value by Wolfgang Bielefeld, Chao Guo

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chapter NINE

Social Entrepreneurship in the Public Sector

In January 1987 Diana Gale became director of the Solid Waste Utility for the city of Seattle, with a mandate to establish a new system for waste disposal.1 Seattle's Solid Waste Utility was located in the city's Engineering Department, reflecting the view that waste disposal was a technical matter. Virtually all city residents used the city's services and ratepayers provided almost all of the utility's revenue. Rates had been low and stable for a number of years, and there was little public concern about waste collection.

Over the years, however, Seattle's trash disposal system had developed capacity problems. In the early 1980s two landfill sites had been filled and were closed. In response, ...

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