Policy measures are needed to reduce the risks associated with pesticides’ application in agriculture, resulting in more sustainable agricultural systems. Pesticide taxes can be an important tool in the toolkit of policy-makers and are of increasing importance in European agriculture. However, little is known about the effects of such tax solutions and their impacts on the environment, farmers, and human health. We aim to fill this gap and synthesize experiences made in the European countries that have introduced pesticide taxes, i.e.
, France, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The major findings of our analysis are: (1) overall, the effectiveness of pesticide taxes is limited, but if a tax on a specific pesticide is high enough, the application and the associated risks will be reduced significantly; (2) in all countries, hoarding activities have been observed before a tax introduction or increase. Therefore, short-term effects of taxes are substantially smaller than long-term effects; (3) differentiated taxes are superior to undifferentiated taxes because fewer accompanying measures are required to reach policy goals; (4) tax scheme designs are not always in line with the National Action Plan targets. Low tax levels do not necessarily lead to a reduction of pesticide input and differentiated taxes do not necessarily lead to fewer violations of water residue limits.
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