The economics of antibiotics use in agriculture

Authored by: Jutta Roosen , David A. Hennessy

The Routledge Handbook of Agricultural Economics

Print publication date:  July  2018
Online publication date:  July  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138654235
eBook ISBN: 9781315623351
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter surveys studies on the economics of antibiotic use in agriculture. Worldwide growth of intensive farm animal production units has raised concerns about the public health implication of disease management in farm animals and the development of resistance to antibiotics. The chapter’s introduction provides an account of the origin of the debate and current regulatory approaches. Taking the view that resistance development is, at least in part, the outcome of property right issues in the global commons, Section 2 presents the social planner problem of resistance management. The farmer’s problem of disease management using antibiotics as a damage control input is addressed in Section 3. Based on this understanding of antibiotic use in agriculture, we summarize the literature on current regulatory approaches at the farm level. Section 4 then looks at the demand side by reviewing studies on willingness to pay and market impact. We discuss the rationales of recent efforts by intermediaries from integrators, restaurant chains, and retailers to curtail antibiotic administration. The chapter closes with a summary and discussion of needs for further research.

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