For refuse collection, we estimate the cost effects of different institutional modes using panel data for almost all Dutch municipalities between 1998 and 2010. The modes we consider are private enterprises, intermunicipal cooperation, municipality-owned enterprises and in-house collection. For private companies, the cost advantage becomes substantially smaller and nonsignificant if municipal fixed effects are included. The cost advantage of intermunicipal cooperation is larger in this case than that of privatization. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.