Measuring the Bioeconomy: Economics and Policies

Justus Wesseler, Joachim Von Braun

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The emerging concept of bioeconomy offers several opportunities to address societal challenges. The bioeconomy is mainly driven by advances in microbiology, which can be applied to various processes that use biological resources by shifting consumer preferences and by yielding new insights into resource constraints related to such issues as climate and land. Although expectations are high, less is known about the economic importance of the bioeconomy. This article reviews the methodological challenges of measuring the bioeconomy, the approaches used, and the outcomes reported. The results show that measuring the bioeconomy is still in its infancy and faces a number of methodological challenges. Bioeconomy cuts across sectors and therefore cannot be treated as a traditional sector in economics. Economics must catch up with bioeconomy realities. For a comprehensive economic assessment, information about bioeconomy resources, compounds, and product flows is required. We outline innovations in data storage and analytical methods that would realize bioeconomy opportunities and help guide policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)275-298
Number of pages24
JournalAnnual Review of Resource Economics
StatePublished - 5 Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Bioeconomy
  • Real option
  • Sustainability
  • Technical change
  • Technology policy
  • Value added


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