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Abstract

In this paper, we use an econometric approach to investigate the impacts of potential changes in cropping practices on the reduction in pesticide use implied by a taxation policy. We combine economic data, reflecting the relatively intensive cropping practices currently used in France, and experimental agronomic data on a low-input technology to estimate micro-econometric models of farmers’ production and acreage choices. In a second step, these estimated models are used to conduct policy simulations. Our results show that a small tax on pesticide use could provide agricultural producers sufficient economic incentive to adopt low-input cropping practices and thereby lead to significant reductions in pesticide use, close to public short-term objectives. However, given the limited impacts of taxation once these practices have been adopted, other public instruments or further improvement of low-input cropping systems should be considered to achieve more ambitious longer term public objectives.

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