Vol. 10 No. 3 (2021)
BAE 10th Anniversary papers

The Bioeconomy in economic literature: looking back, looking ahead

Davide Viaggi
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Bologna
Fabio Bartolini
Department of Chemical, Pharmaceutical and Agricultural Sciences, University of Ferrara
Meri Raggi
Department of Statistical Sciences, University of Bologna

Published 2022-01-11


  • bioeconomy,
  • sustainable development,
  • bio-based economy,
  • circular economy,
  • ecosystem services

How to Cite

Viaggi, D., Bartolini, F., & Raggi, M. (2022). The Bioeconomy in economic literature: looking back, looking ahead. Bio-Based and Applied Economics, 10(3), 169–184. https://doi.org/10.36253/bae-10881


The objective of this paper is to provide a review of recent economic literature related to the Bioeconomy, in particular aimed at identifying relevant pathways for future research in this field. The paper is organised in four main parts. First, we illustrate the economic role of the Bioeconomy and its key statistics in the EU. Second we review economic topics related to the Bioeconomy production in a mainly private (company, consumer, market) perspective. Then we extend our attention to the review of wider social and environmental aspects with a focus on ecosystem services. Finally, we discuss the interplay of the above topics and cross cutting issues in the attempt to identify the most promising pathways for further research. While the economic literature is growing fast in all the fields of the Bioeconomy, we highlight in particular the need of more economic research focusing on transitions and innovation. However, we also highlight the need to take a system perspective and accounting explicitly for the trade-offs among the many objectives that the Bioeconomy is expected to target and to better account of the costs and benefits affecting different stakeholder groups.


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