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Exploring cost dominance between high and low pesticide use in French crop farming systems by varying scale and output mix


  • Jean-Philippe Boussemart

    () (IESEG School of Management)

  • Hervé Leleu

    (CNRS-LEM (UMR 8179) and IESEG School of Management)

  • Oluwaseun Ojo

    (IESEG School of Management (LEM-CNRS))


Policy makers as well as land users in developed countries are willing to promote new agricultural practices that are more environmentally friendly. This can be possible notably among several others by reducing chemical utilization. For instance in France, the agreement of the “Grenelle de l’environnement” encourages farmers to decrease pesticide use per ha about 50% over a period of ten years. This paper deals with a framework which aims at assessing the cost dominance between technologies that favor less or more pesticide levels per ha. Cost functions are estimated thanks to a non-parametric activity analysis model and a robust approach frontier is introduced in order to lessen the sensitivity of the cost frontier to the influence of potential outliers. With respect to this, two cost functions characterized by a relatively lower or higher pesticide level per ha are compared. Based on a sample of 707 French crop farms observed in year 2008, our simulations clearly show that agricultural practices using less pesticide per ha are more cost competitive than practices using more pesticide without inducing other input substitution costs. In addition, results are differentiated by farm size and types of crop to identify possible scale and output mix effects. They reveal that this cost dominance is a robust phenomenon across size and scope dimensions and economically support more green practices in terms of crop activities.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Philippe Boussemart & Hervé Leleu & Oluwaseun Ojo, 2012. "Exploring cost dominance between high and low pesticide use in French crop farming systems by varying scale and output mix," Working Papers 2012-ECO-11, IESEG School of Management.
  • Handle: RePEc:ies:wpaper:e201211

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Léopold Simar & Paul Wilson, 2000. "Statistical Inference in Nonparametric Frontier Models: The State of the Art," Journal of Productivity Analysis, Springer, vol. 13(1), pages 49-78, January.
    2. Boussemart, Jean-Philippe & Leleu, Hervé & Ojo, Oluwaseun, 2011. "Could society's willingness to reduce pesticide use be aligned with farmers' economic self-interest?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(10), pages 1797-1804, August.
    3. Vanloqueren, Gaëtan & Baret, Philippe V., 2008. "Why are ecological, low-input, multi-resistant wheat cultivars slow to develop commercially? A Belgian agricultural 'lock-in' case study," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(2-3), pages 436-446, June.
    4. Cazals, Catherine & Florens, Jean-Pierre & Simar, Leopold, 2002. "Nonparametric frontier estimation: a robust approach," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 106(1), pages 1-25, January.
    5. Timo Kuosmanen & Diemuth Pemsl & Justus Wesseler, 2006. "Specification and Estimation of Production Functions Involving Damage Control Inputs: A Two-Stage, Semiparametric Approach," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 88(2), pages 499-511.
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    More about this item


    Pesticide Use (PU); Cash crops farming systems; Activity Analysis Model (AAM); Non Parametric Robust Cost Function (NPRCF); Hamming Distance (HD);

    JEL classification:

    • C61 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Mathematical Methods; Programming Models; Mathematical and Simulation Modeling - - - Optimization Techniques; Programming Models; Dynamic Analysis
    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets

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