Chapter18

Chapter18 - Chapter #18: Pesticide Economics Contents:...

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Chapter #18: Pesticide Economics Contents: General Overview A Brief History of Pesticide Use Pesticides in a Damage Control Framework Pesticide Resistance Unknown Pest Populations and Pest Population Monitoring Regional Cooperation in Pest Control Activities Sample Problem Health-risk and Environmental Effects of Pesticide Use Sample Problems Pesticide Policy Alternative Policies General Overview There are three major classes of pesticides: (1) Insecticides (2) Fungicides (3) Herbicides Pesticides are useful in controlling agricultural pests, but must be chemically updated over time as pests build resistance. There are adverse human and animal health effects associated with pesticide use, as well. The adverse human health effects of different types of pesticides tend to depend on the similarity between human biology and the biology of the target pest: That is, a “monkeycide” would be worse for human health than a “raticide” Fungicides are generally worse for human consumption than insecticides Our focus in this chapter will be to understand the following concepts: (1) Economic models of pesticide use. (2) Health effects of pesticides. (3) Pesticides policies and regulations.
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-2- A Brief History of Pesticide Use Herbicides From 1965 to 1980, growth in the relative price of labor increased the use of herbicide as a factor of production. This occurred because herbicide is a substitute for labor-intensive work. During the 1980s, lower agricultural commodity prices and reduced crop acreage led to a reduction in herbicide use. Insecticides During the 1970’s, the creation of the EPA and an increase in energy prices led to a reduction in insecticide use. Fungicides Fungicide use has remained relatively stable over the past 30 years, although recent legislation banning the use of carcinogenic chemicals in the Delaney Clause will soon outlaw many fungicides (and several popular insecticides and herbicides). Figure 18.1: An Overview of Changes in Pesticide Use in the U.S.
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-3- Pesticides in a Damage Control Framework Let’s set up the variables for a relatively simple pesticide problem. Pesticides are damage control agents, therefore, we can assess the impact on crop damage from the amount of pesticide used. Output: Y = g ( Z )1 - D ( n ) [ ] where g ( Z ) potential output (Z are inputs not related to pest control) D ( n ) damage function (percent of output lost to pest damage) Pest Population After Pesticide Use: n 1 = h ( n 0 , X , A ) where n 0 pest population without pesticide
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-4- X level of pesticide applied A alternative pest control method level, such as IPM and where: h X < 0, h A < 0 The Economic Threshold Obviously, there are costs associated with pesticide application. If the total damage from pests is less than the social cost associated with a single application of a pesticide to a field (including MEC), then the welfare- maximizing level of pesticide use is zero. Note that this implies toleration of some pests in the field as well as toleration of the associated pest damage, such as less aesthetically appealing fruits and vegetables.
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Chapter18 - Chapter #18: Pesticide Economics Contents:...

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