Wasantha Athukorala is a researcher in the School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia. E-mail: email@example.com for correspondence. Clevo Wilson is an Associate Professor in the School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia. Tim Robinson is a Professor in the School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology, Queensland, Australia. The authors acknowledge the useful comments received on previous versions of the paper from the Editor and two anonymous referees.
Determinants of Health Costs due to Farmers’ Exposure to Pesticides: An Empirical Analysis
Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012
© 2012 The Agricultural Economics Society
Journal of Agricultural Economics
Volume 63, Issue 1, pages 158–174, February 2012
How to Cite
Athukorala, W., Wilson, C. and Robinson, T. (2012), Determinants of Health Costs due to Farmers’ Exposure to Pesticides: An Empirical Analysis. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 63: 158–174. doi: 10.1111/j.1477-9552.2011.00326.x
- Issue published online: 9 JAN 2012
- Article first published online: 9 JAN 2012
- (Original submitted September 2010, revision received July 2011, accepted August 2011)
- Agricultural policy;
- non-market valuation;
- production economics
Pesticide spraying by farmers has an adverse impact on their health. However, in studies to date examining farmers’ exposure to pesticides, the costs of ill health and their determinants have been based on information provided by farmers themselves. Some doubt has therefore been cast on the reliability of these estimates. In this study, we address this by conducting surveys among two groups of farmers who use pesticides on a regular basis. The first group is made up of farmers who perceive that their ill health is due to exposure to pesticides and have obtained at least some form of treatment (described in this article as the ‘general farmer group’). The second group is composed of farmers whose ill health has been diagnosed by doctors and who have been treated in hospital for exposure to pesticides (described here as the ‘hospitalised farmer group’). Cost comparisons are made between the two groups of farmers. Regression analysis of the determinants of health costs show that the most important determinants of medical costs for both samples are the defensive expenditure, the quantity of pesticides used per acre per month, frequency of pesticide use and number of pesticides used per hour per day. The results have important policy implications.