Can economic incentives encourage actual reductions in pesticide use and environmental spillovers?

Authors

  • Theodoros Skevas,

    Corresponding author
    1. Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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  • Spiro E. Stefanou,

    1. Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
    2. Department of Agricultural Economics & Rural Sociology, Pennsylvania State University, 208B Armsby Building University Park, PA 16802, USA
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  • Alfons Oude Lansink

    1. Business Economics Group, Wageningen University, Hollandseweg 1, 6700 EW, Wageningen, The Netherlands
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Tel.: 31(0)317-483-964; fax: 31(0)317-482-745.
E-mail address:theodoros.skevas@wur.nl (T. Skevas).

Abstract

Chemical pesticides constitute an important input in crop production. But their indiscriminate use can impact negatively agricultural productivity, human health, and the environment. Recently, attention is focused on the use of economic incentives to reduce pesticide use and its related indirect effects. The aim of this work is to assess the effectiveness of different economic instruments such as taxes and levies in encouraging farmers to decrease pesticide use and their environmental spillovers. A policy simulation model is employed using data from Dutch cash crop producers including two pesticide categories that differ in terms of toxicity and pesticides’ environmental spillovers. Four different instruments were selected for evaluation: pesticide taxes, price penalties on pesticides’ environmental spillovers, subsidies, and quotas. The results of the study indicate that even high taxes and penalties would result in a small decrease in pesticide use and environmental spillovers. Taxes that differentiate according to toxicity do not lead to substitution of high- with low-toxicity pesticides. Subsidies on low-toxicity products are not able to affect the use of high-toxicity products. Pesticide quotas are more effective in reducing pesticide use and environmental spillovers.

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