Understanding the extent of pesticide overuse and what drives rice farmers to overuse pesticide in agricultural production theoretically and empirically is imperative to increase farmers’ income, promote agricultural transformation and agricultural sustainable development. In this paper, we examined the phenomenon and pattern of pesticides overuse based on the data collected from 861 rice farmers in Jiangsu and Anhui, two provinces in China. By applying the Cobb-Douglas production function (C-D production function) and the damage control model, we estimated the marginal productivity of pesticides. We also adopted the Binary Probit model to further explore factors leading to overuse of pesticide among farmers. Our findings suggested that the marginal productivity of pesticides is close to zero, indicating that there is an excessive use of pesticides in the surveyed areas. According to the Binary Probit model, we also discovered that female farmers, farmers with knowledge about pesticide toxicity, pesticide residue and farmers who hold the view that massive use of pesticide is inimical to the environment, and farmers who participate in pesticide training organized by the government, are more likely to overuse pesticide. On the contrary, experienced farmers have a lower chance of overusing pesticides. Possible explanations to the above findings may be that applying pesticides in accordance with the instructions causes overusing and farmers who are loss-averse, in order to avoid the risk of income loss that may be caused by disease and insect pests, and keep its own income stable, will still increase the amount of pesticide application. It also indicates that farmers are insensitive to increased pesticide overuse.
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