Increasingly, production of goods and services is spread across numerous localities and firms around the world. 

Research on global value chains (GVCs) takes a fine-grained look at how these production networks vary across industries and how they are affected by structural changes in the global economy and international relations. Duke Center for International Development researchers study how policy-makers can best understand and position their economies to capitalize on changes in these complex chains. Researchers also study how changes in international law, dispute resolution, environmental change, and conflict impact the shape and efficiency of GVC activity.



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This book examines China’s new development policies, which seek to reposition China from export platform for a diverse array of low-cost consumer goods to technological leader in sectors linked to advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence, electric vehicles, e-commerce, and new internet-related production networks oriented to China’s large domestic market. Focusing on the post-2010 period, the book shows how China’s central government programs and reforms (“upgrading from above”) are coupled with a wide variety of local government policies, firm strategies, and domestic economy shifts (“upgrading from below”) that link China’s top-down programs into industrial growth on the ground. Placing China’s current development push within a global value chain (GVC) context shows how Chinese development strategies and the global economy remain intertwined. This volume brings together international GVC experts and China-based researchers who have carried out detailed fieldwork and industry specific quantitative analyses of GVCs and development with important implications for policymakers in both developed and developing economies.

Gereffi, G., Bamber, P., & Fernandez-Stark, K. (2022). China’s new development strategies upgrading from above and from below in global value chains. Palgrave Macmillan.

Post-pandemic, companies have four main options to reduce rigidity and increase resilience in global supply chains: make them more domestic (e.g., reshoring, stockpiles); make them shorter (e.g., reducing the physical distances traversed by supply chains through regionalized production, such as Mexico and Central America for the US); make them more diversified (e.g., reduce dependence on one or a few countries); and make them more digital (e.g., digital versions of real products and using digital technology to track the supply chain better). This article outlines key government policies that can support these corporate strategic options.
Gereffi, Gary, (2023), How to make global supply chains more resilient, No 348, Columbia FDI Perspectives, Columbia University, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI).

Climate crises are being experienced all over the world and appear to be accelerating as “extreme weather” events become the “new normal.” In today’s world economy, where trade and production activities are internationally dispersed and prone to disruptions, the global value chain (GVC) framework provides a systematic approach to understand and combat environmental crises and to advance sustainable development options across global, regional, and local scales. A vast “implementation deficit” characterizes sustainability efforts to date. The GVC framework incorporates firm and policymaker perspectives in a multistakeholder approach that offers multiple building blocks for a progressive environmental agenda, including: a multi-actor perspective to define sustainability; measuring it across diverse geographic scales; analysis of both environmental upgrading and downgrading; distinguishing motivations, actions, and outcomes when assessing environmental performance; viewing GVC resilience in terms of the interplay of economic and environmental forces; and highlighting how context matters in analyzing national, industry, and geopolitical factors.

De Marchi, V., Gereffi, G. Using the global value chain framework to analyse and tackle global environmental crises. J. Ind. Bus. Econ. 50, 149–159 (2023).

Place-centred branding is increasingly perceived as a mode of product differentiation and a rural development strategy that emphasizes the singularities of production regions and methods to meet global market demands for quality and authenticity. We use a global value chain (GVC) analysis to compare the trajectories of Peruvian and Chilean pisco – a distilled spirit like brandy – finding that each country’s efforts to claim its authenticity are grounded in different cultural–economic imperatives as well as vexed historical bilateral relations. Our analysis suggests that antagonism can compromise the authenticity premium. A GVC lens offers important analytic leverage for locating pisco producers’ market strategies as nested within the larger GVC for alcoholic spirits, and we suggest this perspective would benefit from more robust considerations of local–global trade-offs therein.

Danny Hamrick, Michaela DeSoucey & Nino Bariola (2022) Distillations of authenticity: a comparative global value chain analysis of pisco, Regional Studies, DOI: 10.1080/00343404.2022.2115027

Considers how the business environment can support positive integration and upgrading of formal firms in global value chains. Chain characteristics are examined by industry and sector, and roles of the business environment, institutions and investment policies are outlined, including discussion of the importance of regional trade agreements.

Frederick, S. (2023) Roles of the Business Environment in Global Value Chains; Technical Report. Donor Committee for Enterprise Development, Cambridge, UK.

FISH4ACP is an initiative of the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) to support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture development. The five-year value chain (VC) development programme (2020 to 2025) is implemented by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) with funding from the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The seabob shrimp value chain in Guyana is one of 12 value chains competitively selected from over 70 proposals worldwide for support from the FISH4ACP programme. This summary report presents the outputs of design work completed during 2021 and early 2022 to conclude a functional analysis of the VC, assess its sustainability and resilience, develop an upgrading strategy to which the FISH4ACP programme will contribute, and plan for full implementation from mid-2022.

Duong, G., Rankin, M., Ahmed, G., Rice, J., Nguyen, H., Talia, S. & McFee, D. 2023. The seabob value chain in Guyana: Summary report. Rome, FAO.

Which is more reassuring to foreign investors—domestic laws or international agreements? A substantial literature argues that foreign investment may be underprovided, because governments cannot offer credible guarantees that judicial institutions are impartial and that investors will be able to fairly resolve disputes with business partners and enforce contracts. This time inconsistency problem deters profitable business partnerships between foreign investors and domestic firms in the host country. Consequently, for emerging market leaders seeking to deepen their countries’ integration into global value chains (GVCs), enhancing the confidence of investors in contracting institutions is critical. In this paper, we study the emerging market of Vietnam to examine which type of reassurance mechanism is most successful. Using a survey of 1,583 foreign firms, we inform investors about either a domestic law or international treaty designed to strengthen commercial arbitration procedures. We find that priming foreign firms about the international investment agreement has a larger positive impact on their views about the future profitability of their projects and the likelihood of contracting with other firms in GVCs than simply learning about the commitments in domestic law.
Malesky, EJ, Milner, HV. Fostering global value chains through international agreements: Evidence from Vietnam. Econ Polit. 2021; 33: 443–482.