Longo, Stefano, and Richard York. 2008. Agricultural Exports and the Environment: A Cross-National Study of Fertilizer and Pesticide Consumption. Rural Sociology 73(1), 2008, p p. 82-104
The mass consumption of agrochemicals, including manufactured fertilizers and pesticides, by industrialized agricultural systems worldwide threatens human health and the health of ecosystems. The production of these agricultural inputs is a highly energy- and capitalintensive process, and their application contributes to a variety of direct and indirect impacts on the environment. This study is an analysis of the relationships between international trade in agricultural products and the consumption of these synthetic compounds. Using OLS regression models and data from World Bank and UNFAO, we analyze cross-national data to examine the relationship between structural factors, such as economic development and export intensity, and both fertilizer and pesticide consumption. The findings are considered from the opposing theoretical perspectives of international political economy (IPE) and neo-liberal modernization (NLM). The results generally support the claims of IPE and contradict those of NLM, indicating that increases in exports of
agricultural products contribute to increases in fertilizer and pesticide consumption within nations. These results call into question policies that promote increased trade liberalization in agricultural products.