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A discussion of the market and policy failures associated with the adoption of herbicide-tolerant crops

Marion Desquilbet (), David S. Bullock and Filippo Maria D'Arcangelo
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Marion Desquilbet: TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
David S. Bullock: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign [Urbana] - University of Illinois System
Filippo Maria D'Arcangelo: TSE - Toulouse School of Economics - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

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Abstract: Weed control in the U.S. Midwest has become increasingly herbicide-centric due to the adoption of herbicide-tolerant (HT) crops in the 1990s. That integrated weed management (IWM) practices, including ecological and mechanical controls, are scarcely used is concerning. IWM would be a more sustainable form of farming for two reasons. First, it would reduce the negative health and environmental externalities associated with herbicide use. Second, it would reduce the selection pressure on weed populations and the development of weed resistance to some herbicides, thereby reducing the uncertainty of the long-term effectiveness of herbicidal weed control. In this context, we develop an economic framework to clarify the interplay among the different market failures that either contribute to the herbicidal ‘lock-in' or make it problematic. We then analyse the evidence for and perceptions of these market failures based on twenty-four semi-structured interviews with farmers and experts conducted in 2017, as well as on discussions in the academic literature. To this end, we put into perspective the possible selfreinforcing effects in the adoption path of HT crops, such as increasing farm size, changes in farm equipment, increasing incentives for simplified crop rotations, and the loss of practical knowledge of IWM practices.

Keywords: herbicide-tolerant crops; integrated weed management; health and environmental externalities; weed resistance; lock-in (search for similar items in EconPapers)
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-env
Date: 2019
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02278977
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Published in International Journal of Agricultural Sustainability, Taylor & Francis, 2019, in Press, pp.1-12. ⟨10.1080/14735903.2019.1655191⟩

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