Agriculture in the Bioeconomy: Economics and Policies

Justus Wesseler, Maximilian Kardung

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The bioeconomy is high on the policy agenda as several countries have published related strategies. We consider five major reasons why we should take the bioeconomy seriously from an economic and policy perspective, namely (1) Advances in biological sciences; (2) An increase in horizontal and vertical integration in agricultural supply chains; (3) An increase in inter- and intraindustry trade; (4) Advances in information and communication technologies; (5) An increase in globalisation. Developing the bioeconomy promises great opportunities, but it requires some knowledge about sustainable development for examining whether or not the bioeconomy lives up to its promises. New technologies often have impacts on human health and/or the environment that may not be covered in the prices of traded goods and services. They often also include irreversibility effects. Those effects have to be evaluated differently than effects considered reversible. Further, uncertainties about future benefits and costs need to be considered as well. This is one reason why the precautionary approach has been mentioned in many regulations. An extended cost-benefit analysis based on real option theory allows evaluating new developments in the bioeconomy under uncertainty and irreversibility. The example of vitamin A enriched rice illustrates the complexity of economic, social, and political issues related to new technologies and their controversies. Dynamic aspects of bioeconomy policies and their economic implications along the value chain are a priority for further research. Research areas include market and policies, spatial structures as well as institutional and organisational aspects of biomass use, bioeconomy business and business models, and the link with rural development.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBioeconomy and Sustainability
Subtitle of host publicationPerspectives from Natural and Social Sciences, Economics and Ethics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages21
ISBN (Electronic)9783030874025
ISBN (Print)9783030874018
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioeconomy
  • Economics
  • Policies


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