Accepted paper:

Costa Rica as experimental battlefield: pesticides, economics, and public health


Kees Jansen (Wageningen University)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines pesticide regulation in Costa Rica, where the business conflict between generic pesticide producers and research-based companies has caused dramatic swings in risk regulation, intensified social struggle and undermined state performance. The paper analyses actor strategies and contrasting views on nature, risks, and regulation.

Paper long abstract:

The recent dynamic history of pesticide regulation in Costa Rica is used as a case to discuss how competing market forces can cause dramatic swings in risk analysis and environmental governance, intensify social struggle and undermine state performance.  Producers/traders of pesticides whose main business is based on patented pesticides come into conflict with the environmental groups and political forces behind pesticide regulation.  We analyse the contrasting views and strategies of different actors with regards to nature, risks, risk management, trust in specific business groups, and the scope of environmental, agricultural and health policy.  Not only regionally but also globally, Costa Rica is seen as the experimental battlefield for the larger confrontation between Generics and Brands as well as for the question to what extent economic interests should be given room to shape environmental/agricultural/health policies.

panel P47
Risk, value, ethics: the political logics of transnational finance and medicine