Global Value Chains & Development

The Global Value Chains Initiative provides an industry-centric view of economic globalization that highlights the linkages between firms and other economic actors from the global to the local levels of analysis. The Initiative seeks to disseminate recent developments and applications of this research agenda and to foster the development of an international community of global value chain researchers using the tools provided by the Internet.

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

imageCGGC uses the GVC framework to address economic development challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The region has one of the fastest growing populations in the world along with the highest youth unemployment rates. MENA’s economies include high-income countries that depend on oil exports such as Saudi Arabia, middle-income countries with diversified exports such as Egypt, and low-income countries such as Yemen. Recent transitions and unrest demonstrate that MENA nations urgently need sustainable approaches to economic growth that reduce vulnerabilities, create employment opportunities and promote an inclusive and competitive private sector. Our research seeks to better understand complex dynamics in MENA countries to foster comprehensive development in sectors such as agriculture, technology, and energy.
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Latin America

imageCGGC has conducted research on a number of industries and countries in Latin America for a range of clients. Our client list includes international organizations such as the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the World Bank, national governments including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, as well as other foundations, contract research and advocacy groups.
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Costa Rica

imageDuke CGGC embarked on this study for the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) in Costa Rica to understand the participation of Costa Rica in four global value chains: medical devices, electronics, aerospace and offshore services. The ultimate goal of this study was to provide a set of recommendations to the Costa Rican government to enhance the participation and upgrading in the industries selected.
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Workforce Development

imageResearch in this area focuses on identifying workforce development strategies for enhancing the global competitiveness of developing countries.
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Inclusive Development

imageThe center is conducting research to understand why certain economic actors are not able to participate in global value chains. Research questions addressed include: How can developing countries gainfully engage in GVCs? What are the main constraints that small- and medium-sized firms in emerging nations face to participate in GVCs? What types of policies are successful in linking new economic actors to the global economy and what opportunities do these economic actors have to participate in value chains?
MIF Website > >
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Offshore Services Industry

imageCGGC is conducting research on the offshore services industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in this globalized economy. Companies in search of lower costs and new talent have begun unbundling their corporate activities and are sourcing them from abroad. The information technology revolution has expedited the growth of this industry facilitating the trade of these service activities.
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imageAn incredible amount of interest exists in government, nonprofits, and the academic community in the ocean. Whether the interest is in monitoring the health of fisheries, patrolling the surface, or creating precise maps of the seafloor, the need for information on the ocean is vast. CGGC, in partnership with its sponsors, conducts research on ocean-related global value chains. Some of our recent projects, presentations, and articles on ocean-related topics are provided on this page.
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imageThe apparel global value chain (GVC) has been one of the hallmark cases of globalization, since the establishment of the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) in the early 1970s through the phase-out of the MFA in 2005. The MFA quota system sparked the spread of global production networks in apparel to every corner of the globe, and MFA phase out has led to predictions that large developing country suppliers such as China and India would dominate apparel GVCs after the mid-2000s.

CGGC researchers have tracked global apparel trends in multiple projects, publications and websites. The apparel industry is analyzed in the North Carolina in the Global Economy website, and it is also one of the four industries covered in the CGGC report on "Skills for Upgrading: Workforce Development and GVCs in Developing Countries" Gary Gereffi and Stacey Frederick have published several articles on apparel GVCs, including a chapter in the World Bank book by Cattaneo, Gereffi and Staritz (eds.), Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective (2010), and Frederick has collaborated with Cornelia Staritz in developing a series of detailed country case studies for another World Bank book by Lopez—Acevedo and Robertson (eds.), Sewing Success? Employment, Wages and Poverty Following the End of the Multi-fibre Arrangement (2012).
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Food & Agriculture

imageCGGC has been involved in groundbreaking research on global health issues, including how food and trade affect healthy diets. In the summer of 2007 researchers at CGGC were contacted by representatives of McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, the National Institute of Health (NIH), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to participate in a series of conferences beginning in fall 2007 that would highlight new approaches to studying childhood obesity. Researchers at CGGC were specifically asked by organizers of the McGill Health Challenge and the WHO Early-Stage Expert Meeting on Trade and Healthy Diets to write a framework paper that would outline how researchers should address the multi levels of analysis which are needed to capture the various determinants of childhood obesity.

In this framework paper, “Trade, Transnational Corporations and Food Consumption: A Global Value Chain Approach,” CGGC researchers Gary Gereffi, Joonkoo Lee and Michelle Christian described how the global value chains framework is a useful analytic tool to understand how international economic processes, particularly the role of transnational corporations, impact the structural conditions. These conditions make certain types of food available that can potentially impact childhood obesity rates in both developed and developing countries.

A series of CGGC publications on global food and agriculture subsequently emerged in special issues of journals, such as “U.S.-based Food and Agricultural Value Chains and Their Relevance to Healthy Diets” (Gereffi, Lee and Christian), Journal of Hunger and Environmental Nutrition (2009), and “Global Value Chains and Agrifood Standards: Challenges and Possibilities for Smallholders in Developing Countries” (Lee, Gereffi and Beauvais), Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2012). Christian and Gereffi contributed a chapter on “The Marketing and Distribution of Fast Food” in Michael Freemark’s edited book on Pediatric Obesity (2010), and other CGGC projects have looked at selected California crops (for the Environmental Defense Fund) and agricultural value chains in the Mexicali Valley (for the Walton Family Foundation).

In 2012, CGGC was awarded a prestigious U.S. Department of Defense Minerva Initiative 3-year research grant to look at “A Global Value Chain Analysis of Food Security and Food Staples for Major Energy-Exporting Nations in the Middle East and North Africa.” This project will be carried out in collaboration with Lincoln Pratson at the Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.
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Automotive & Transportation

imageThe automobile and transportation industries have been considered a classic example of a producer-driven value chain. CGGC researchers, in collaboration with scholars at other universities, have published a wide range of articles on the and transportation industries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China. Some of this research was supported by Industry Canada.
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imageCGGC's work in Africa has looked at inclusive development, upgrading, and workforce development opportunities for a number of countries in a range of agro-food, light manufacturing, and service industries. Our clients have included World Bank, International Growth Center (IGC), OECD, Oxfam, RTI International, and USAID/ACDI-VOCA.
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Engineering & Entrepreneurship

imageWith financial support from the Kauffman Foundation, CGGC has engaged in research on engineering and entrepreneurship since 2006. The research projects have dealt with the state of engineering education competitiveness in the United States, the phenomenon of immigrant entrepreneurship, and sources of innovation and workforce development in varied overseas locations, such as India and China.
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imageCGGC’s nanotechnology research has been supported by the National Science Foundation through a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara's Center for Nanotechnology in Society. This joint research project has focused on the diffusion of nanotechnology to Asia, as well as involvement in nanotechnology in North Carolina and California. We have also developed novel approaches to map the dissemination of nanomaterials in a variety of nano-enabled intermediates and final products. Nanotechnology represents an exciting new area of scientific discovery, and has generated increasing interest from government officials, scientists, and the general public in recent years. This innovative field has a broad array of scientific and commercial applications – and an equally broad range of societal implications.
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World Bank

imageThe World Bank has published several books that feature work on global value chains by CGGC researchers, such as Gary Gereffi, Stacey Frederick (apparel), Karina Fernandez-Stark (offshore services), Ghada Ahmed (call centers in Egypt), Penny Bamber (horticulture in Honduras), and Michelle Christian (tourism in Kenya). With Olivier Cattaneo and Cornelia Staritz of the World Bank, Gereffi co-edited Global Value Chains in a Post-Crisis World: A Development Perspective (The World Bank, 2010), as well as a special issue of the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development on “Shifting End Markets and Upgrading Prospects in Global Value Chains” (2011).
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Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

imageThe Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has sponsored a series of projects, led by CGGC researchers Karina Fernandez-Stark and Penny Bamber, which include carrying out global value chains (GVC) research in a variety of Latin American countries, and also helping the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the IDB to design and evaluate new GVC projects for the region. In addition, the IDB has co-sponsored a number of international conferences and workshops on global value chains throughout Latin America, and it supported a one-week GVC training program led by Fernandez-Stark, Bamber and Gereffi at the Caribbean Center for Competitiveness at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad in October 8-12, 2012.
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OECD (Paris)

imageThe Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris has co-sponsored several conferences and workshops on global value chains that involve CGGC researchers, as well as commissioning a number of research reports. To date, this research has focused primarily on improving the participation of developing countries in regional and global value chains, through skills upgrading, a sector-specific approach to improving local institutional framework for competitiveness as well as how to structure policies to optimise value capture in Africa.
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imageCGGC's relationship with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) began in 2008 with a series of reports with EDF's Corporate Partnership program. This was followed by the Manufacturing Climate Solutions report series, several reports on clean transportation and infrastructure, and a series that looked at the economic impact and environmental improvements of potential restoration projects in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The unifying theme of our work with EDF has been to use the value chain framework to study environmental issues; specifically to identify points of leverage and technologies that will reduce the environmental impact of firms in diverse industries while also creating opportunities to generate U.S. employment.
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