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Journal Article

Sprayed to Death: Path Dependence, Lock-in and Pest Control Strategies

Robin Cowan and Philip Gunby
The Economic Journal
Vol. 106, No. 436 (May, 1996), pp. 521-542
Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Royal Economic Society
DOI: 10.2307/2235561
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2235561
Page Count: 22
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Sprayed to Death: Path Dependence, Lock-in and Pest Control Strategies
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Abstract

Theoretical literature on the economics of technology has emphasised the effects on technological trajectories of positive feedbacks. In a competition among technologies that all perform a similar function, the presence of increasing returns to adoption can force all but one technology from the market. Furthermore, the victor need not be the superior technology. This paper provides an empirical study of one technological competition which illuminates this theoretical work. It uses theoretical results to explain why chemical control of agricultural pests remains the dominant technology in spite of many claims that it is inferior to its main competitor, integrated pest management.

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