Neonicotinoids in U.S. Maize: Insecticide Substitution Effects and Environmental Risk

CARD Working Paper 19-WP 590

36 Pages Posted: 13 Jun 2019 Last revised: 11 Dec 2019

See all articles by Edward Perry

Edward Perry

Kansas State University - Department of Agricultural Economics

GianCarlo Moschini

Iowa State University - Department of Economics

Date Written: May 30, 2019

Abstract

This study exploits a novel dataset containing more than 89,000 farm-level surveys over a 17-year period to investigate how neonicotinoid seed treatments in maize, now ubiquitous, have affected the use of other insecticides. Neonicotinoid insecticides are the most used class of insecticides in the world, but they are controversial because of their high toxicity to honeybees. In the United States, maize production accounts for the majority of neonicotinoid use, mostly as seed treatments. We find that neonicotinoids substituted for other major insecticides: plots planted with neonicotinoid-treated seeds were 52% and 47% less likely to be treated with a pyrethroid and organophosphate insecticide, respectively. Although honeybees have been put at greater risk by neonicotinoids, the changed pattern of pest control instruments has reduced toxicity risk for mammals, birds, and fish. We also find that adoption of genetically engineered insect-resistant maize varieties significantly reduced the use of organophosphate and pyrethroid insecticides, thereby reducing toxicity exposure to all examined taxa. Policies aimed at restricting neonicotinoid use may need to account for undesirable unintended consequences.

Keywords: environmental risk, genetically engineered maize, insect control options, insecticides, neonicotinoids, pesticide ban, substitution effects, unintended consequences

JEL Classification: Q1, Q5

Suggested Citation

Perry, Edward and Moschini, GianCarlo, Neonicotinoids in U.S. Maize: Insecticide Substitution Effects and Environmental Risk (May 30, 2019). CARD Working Paper 19-WP 590, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3396781 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3396781

Edward Perry (Contact Author)

Kansas State University - Department of Agricultural Economics ( email )

Manhatten, KS 66506-4001
United States

GianCarlo Moschini

Iowa State University - Department of Economics ( email )

260 Heady Hall
Ames, IA 50011
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
59
Abstract Views
880
rank
512,485
PlumX Metrics