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In 2001, the United States General Accounting Office issued a report entitled “Management Improvements Needed to Further Promote Integrated Pest Management.” This report documents that overall agricultural pesticide usage increased from 1992 to 2000 while the use of the most toxic levels of pesticides have decreased. The USDA suggests that these changes in pesticide use could have been caused by integrated pest management (IPM) adoption. However, the GAO maintains that there is not enough evidence to support this claim. This paper contributes to this debate by estimating the relationship between pesticide use and IPM practices adopted for number of commodities across the nation from 1996 to 2005. The paper exploits an aggregated data set that combines surveys from different crops and different years, but it also examines specific surveys conducted on cotton and corn crops to better control for other factors that could affect pesticide use. The paper applies multiple definitions of IPM and uses different spatial variables to control for environmental effects that affect pesticide use. Although some specific strategies such as GM adoption decreased the amount of active ingredients sprayed on cotton and corn, the results suggest that on average the adoption of IPM strategies lead to slightly increased pesticide spending and pounds of active ingredient sprayed per acre. This result is confirmed in both the analysis on the aggregated data as well as the analysis of the cotton and corn data. The results also suggest that fixed environmental factors explain a significant amount of chemical spending and pesticide use in the United States. The significance of these factors demonstrates the importance of research and programs that aid farmers in making intelligent pesticide use decisions at the local level.


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