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ENVIRONMENTAL REVIEWS AND CASE STUDIES: Socioeconomic Analysis Options for Pesticides Management in Developing Countries: A Review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 February 2015

Barry D. Solomon*
Professor of Geography and Environmental Policy, Department of Social Sciences, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Michigan.
Address correspondence to: Barry D. Solomon, Department of Social Sciences,1400 Townsend Drive, Michigan Technological University, Houghton, MI 49931-1295; (phone) 906-487-1791; e-mail (
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Many factors must be considered by environmental officials tasked with managing pesticides. Several socioeconomic analysis techniques can be used to quantify these issues and help improve management, including the full consideration of alternatives. The most popular and commonly used techniques are Cost-Benefit Analysis and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis, and additional guidance and reference materials are readily available. Another group of methods, known as Rapid Rural Appraisal and Participatory Rural Appraisal, can be more appropriate, faster, and have lower cost to use in developing countries. Finally, qualitative decision making under uncertainty, such as through the use of the Precautionary Principle (not a socioeconomic analysis technique), also can be valuable. The precautionary approach requires that if an action or policy has a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is not harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking an action. Ideally all of the analytical techniques will need complete and reliable socioeconomic data, though in reality, data are often incomplete and fraught with uncertainties. In these cases, the application of the precautionary principle decision rule may have strong justification. The application of these techniques in several decision contexts for pesticides in developing countries will be discussed.

Environmental Practice 17: 57–68 (2015)

© National Association of Environmental Professionals 2015 

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