Has the European Union entered a bioeconomy transition? Combining an output-based approach with a shift-share analysis

Tévécia Ronzon*, Susanne Iost, George Philippidis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


The bioeconomy is a collective of activities charged with the production of biologically renewable resources or ‘biomass’ (e.g. agriculture, forestry), its diverse application (e.g. food, textiles, construction, chemicals) and subsequent reuse (e.g. compositing, waste management). Since the European Union (EU) launched its bioeconomy strategy in 2012, further bioeconomy policy initiatives have proliferated at regional, national and pan-European levels. Moreover, the EU Green Deal announced in 2019 targets a transition towards a low-carbon sustainable model of growth, food and energy security, biodiversity and natural resource management, where it is envisaged that the bioeconomy will play a key role. Despite a paucity of available data, the surge in policy interest has triggered the need for evidence-based monitoring of bioeconomy sectors and the efficient tailoring of policy support. Thus, on a Member State (MS) basis for the period 2008–2017, we (1) adopt an ‘output-based’ approach to construct a panel data of performance indicators and (2) characterise the sources of growth and transitional stage of the bioeconomy. Results reveal that the bioeconomy has maintained its relative importance within the total EU27 economy. At the EU level, agriculture and the food industry have played a key role in driving a transition in the primary and industrial bioeconomy sectors due to their significant labour productivity-enhancing impact. Four Northern MS exhibit a bioeconomy transition by modernising their bioeconomy activities and operating structural changes. Other Northern and Western EU MS are still in the early stages of a transition, whilst in Eastern and Central Europe, such a transition remains elusive.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8195-8217
JournalEnvironment, Development and Sustainability
Issue number6
Early online date8 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Bioeconomy
  • Employment
  • Europe
  • Productivity
  • Structural change
  • Transition
  • Value added


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