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Research Project:

Plant protection products - Risk aspects and incentive charges

Project coordination: Prof. Dr. Robert Finger, ETH Zurich
Project lead Bonn: PD Dr. Wolfgang Britz
Project execution: MSc Thomas Böcker
Duration: March 2015 - October 2016
Funding: Federal Office for Agriculture (CH)
Contact: T.Bö


Plant Protection is essential for the provision of high quality food in adequate quantities. However, especially the use of plant protection products (PPP) often induces possible negative effects for the environment and human health. Therefore, the reduction of negative effects resulting from the use of PPP is an important goal of Swiss agricultural and environmental policies. The draft for the national action plan for risk reduction and sustainable use of plant protection products ("Aktionsplan zur Risikoreduktion und nachhaltigen Anwendung von Pflanzenschutzmitteln"), published in July 2016, postulates a reduction target of 50% of the risks induced by the use of PPP. This goal is intended to be accomplished by a combination of different measures to reduce use and emission of PPP. Accompanying measures such as education and extension services shall support the accomplishment of the reduction targets. In this context, it is the goal of the here presented study to provide a better understanding of economic effects of possible economic steering instruments for the PPP use in Swiss agriculture. Executing a project for the Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture, the following research questions were addressed:

  1. Which effects could a possible steering tax have on PPP use and induced risks;
  2. Which design of such a steering tax would be best chosen to accomplish the targets of Swiss agricultural policy;
  3. Are insurances useful accompanying measures to reduce PPP use and risks; and
  4. Which economic effects would be induced by a tax on PPP, and in how far can possible negative effects be absorbed?

To answer these research questions, a combination of different scientific methods was chosen. More specifically, qualitative and quantitative analyses of existing literature, as well as specific theoretical and empirical analyses of Swiss agriculture were combined in this study. The results of the project can be read in the project report.

Project report:

Ökonomische Analyse des Einsatzes von Pflanzenschutzmitteln

Publications related to the project:

Böcker, T., Finger, R. (2017): A Meta-Analysis on the Price Elasticity of Demand for Pesticides, Journal of Agricultural Economics (in press), Link.

Böcker, T., Finger, R. (2016): European Pesticide Tax Schemes in Comparison: An Analysis of Experiences and Developments, Sustainability 8(4): 378/1-22, Link.


Last updated: October 02, 2017