Pesticides have been a major contributor to the growth of agricultural productivity and food supply. Yet, they are a source of concern because of human and environmental health side effects. This paper presents methodologies for assessing the productivity and health effects of pesticides. It also provides an overview of some of the major empirical findings. This paper covers major research that analyzes alternative approaches to address issues of resistance buildup, risk and environmental and human health, predator–prey relationships, as well as dynamic considerations. The paper summarizes existing policies that vary from the prescribed social optimum suggested by economic theory to those motivated by political–economy factors and risk aversion. Analysis is provided to relate pesticide policies to the larger context of agricultural and environmental management. This paper also presents recent modeling of invasive species and agricultural biotechnology.