Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Ratio Working Papers,
The Ratio Institute

No 338: Breaking Circular Economy Barriers

Jonas Grafström () and Siri Aasma
Additional contact information
Jonas Grafström: The Ratio Institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden
Siri Aasma: The Ratio Institute, Postal: The Ratio Institute, P.O. Box 5095, SE-102 42 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Despite high estimated economic gains the implementation of a circular economy (CE) in most areas is generally slow. The purpose of this paper is therefore to examine the potential causes to this sluggish implementation and to discuss and illustrate how different types of barriers (technological, market, institutional and cultural) can prevent the further implementation of a CE. We conduct a systematic literature review where academic articles and “grey literature” on the barriers to a CE transition are analysed and classified into technological, market/economic, institutional/regulatory, and cultural/social barriers. We approach the research problem in a twofold way. Firstly, we recognize the barriers that currently seem to hinder a CE from developing. Secondly, we map these barriers to better understand how they are interdependent and entangled. Our main conclusion is that even small barriers can stop the emergence of a CE.

Keywords: Circular economy; barriers; sustainability; markets; recycling

JEL-codes: K23; L11; P18; Q20

27 pages, August 31, 2020

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