When it comes to development work, global value chains analysis has most typically been leveraged to help developing country policymakers to understand how they can upgrade in the global economy. Yet, the framework is equally useful in helping more developed countries understand how to remain competitive and continue to push innovation boundaries in an increasingly automated, conected and service-driven world. Our latest original research at the Duke University Global Value Chains Center, undertaken together with the Korea Institute for Industrial Economics & Trade, proves this point. We were able to identify broader lessons for Korea’s future ambitions for industrial transformation…

Definition and Tips

By Stacey Frederick

If you have a vested interest in economic, social and/or environmental development, then you need to understand how global value chains (GVCs) operate.

Complexity is here to stay. Firms in widely separate locations affect one another more than they have in the past. While some effects are straightforward, others are quite nuanced. GVCs are a driving force of globalization and affect how all countries participate in the chain. For a developing country, it impacts opportunities to enter the global economy, increase employment, produce new products, and expand exports. Understanding GVCs dynamics is equally important…

GVC Analysis: A Tool to Promote Economic Development

By Gary Gereffi and Karina Fernandez-Stark

The global economy is increasingly structured around global value chains (GVCs). The evolution of GVCs has significant implications for global trade, production and employment and how developing country firms, producers and workers integrate into the global economy. This is particularly the case in sectors such as commodities, apparel, electronics, tourism and business service outsourcing.

GVCs link firms, workers and consumers around the world and often provide a stepping-stone for firms and workers in developing countries to participate into the global economy. For many countries, especially low-income…

The Power of Russia’s Wheat Economy and How It Impacts Food Security in the Middle East

By Duke University researchers Ghada Ahmed, Sona Nahapetyan, Danny Hamrick and Jonathan Morgan

Most people don’t like to wait longer than expected for food at a restaurant. Such displeasure personally is significantly magnified at the country level when whole national populations cannot afford daily staples such as bread. Much has been written about how lack of access to affordable food contributed to unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA) in recent years. Our research revealed how food security is impacted by…

Global Value Chain (GVC) research can play an important role in addressing key development and competitiveness issues. It allows one to understand where, how, and by whom economic, social and environmental value is created and distributed. Various stakeholders can use the results of a value chain analysis to devise industrial policies and strategic plans, both at the firm and country level. Different government agencies and players in Costa Rica can attest to this, as the below story explains.


Prior to 2013, Costa Rica wanted to improve and consolidate its information inputs to better understand how it was faring in…

By Karina Fernandez-Stark

It is vital for countries to understand the global value chains (GVCs) of their key industries in order to integrate in the international economy. It can be crucial to development and improved competitiveness. Many policymakers are not familiar with GVC analysis and are also unaware about the dynamics of the global economy, including global demand and supply, lead firms that dominate the chain and the possibilities for industry upgrading. The Duke Global Value Chains Center has been at the forefront in advancing knowledge around GVCs. …

The Perils of Economic Nationalism according to Gary Gereffi

Is economic nationalism sustainable?

The answer is no, according to Gary Gereffi, director of the Duke Unversity GVC Center. “National economies can’t be self-contained industries. They have to tie in to other parts of the world. We can re-think relationships, but we need to find a partnership model,” he said.

Gereffi articulated this point of view during an April 5th event organized by the Duke International Association entitled US Election, Brexit & Globalization. …

By Jack Daly

What opportunities does regional collaboration offer for economic unions such as the East African Community (EAC)? The International Growth Centre (IGC) and Duke CGGC researched this issue with respect to three sectors that national governments in the region have prioritized: dairy processing, maize (corn) and tourism.


Firm productivity in East Africa remains low, despite recent gains in poverty reduction and economic growth rates. This creates some uncertainty about whether gains will persist without substantial transformation in regional networks of production and trade. …

What is the future of manufacturing? Gary Gereffi, director of the Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness, has been researching the competitive strategies of global firms, the governance of global value chains, industrial upgrading in East Asia and Latin America and the emerging global knowledge economy. Professor Gereffi recently answered this question in a short video. The following is a transcript from the video.

“The future of manufacturing is a topic that many international organizations, including the World Economic Forum, have been focusing on over the last 10 years or so. It was driven initially by the global…

Dev Nathan

Participation as suppliers in Global Value Chains has provided many benefits to Asia such as increased employment in higher value activities, reduction in poverty and the heightened participation of women in these modern sectors. There are also weaknesses in these developments such as the continuation of sweatshop conditions in several sectors, among other concerns. The book Labour in Global Value Chains in Asia unpacks these different positives and negatives and identifies spaces for progressive action and policies in the current GVC-linked global work environment.

Edited by scholars Dev Nathan (Institute for Human Development in India and Visiting Research Fellow at…

Duke Global Value Chains Center

Center @DukeU conducting contract research. Addresses clients’ real world questions with transparency & rigor. Global value chain expertise. #GVCs

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