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Which Way is "Up" in Upgrading? Trajectories of Change in the Value Chain for South African Wine

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  • Ponte, Stefano
  • Ewert, Joachim

Abstract

Summary Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis uses the concept of upgrading to highlight paths for developing country firms to "move up the value chain," usually through the lenses of four categories--product, process, functional, and inter-sectoral upgrading. The implicit normative expectation is that these firms move toward producing higher value-added products and/or take on more sophisticated functions along a value chain. In this article, upgrading is approached more broadly as "reaching a better deal," including a balance between rewards and risk. The case study of South African wine shows that better product quality, improved processes, and some functional upgrading have co-existed with processes of "downgrading," higher risks, and limited rewards, especially in traditional export markets. A reflection on further conceptual development and directions for empirical research is also provided.

Suggested Citation

  • Ponte, Stefano & Ewert, Joachim, 2009. "Which Way is "Up" in Upgrading? Trajectories of Change in the Value Chain for South African Wine," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 37(10), pages 1637-1650, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:37:y:2009:i:10:p:1637-1650
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Andrea Morrison & Carlo Pietrobelli & Roberta Rabellotti, 2008. "Global Value Chains and Technological Capabilities: A Framework to Study Learning and Innovation in Developing Countries," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 39-58.
    2. Tewari, Meenu, 1999. "Successful Adjustment in Indian Industry: the Case of Ludhiana's Woolen Knitwear Cluster," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1651-1671, September.
    3. Giuliani, Elisa & Bell, Martin, 2005. "The micro-determinants of meso-level learning and innovation: evidence from a Chilean wine cluster," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 34(1), pages 47-68, February.
    4. Giuliani, Elisa & Pietrobelli, Carlo & Rabellotti, Roberta, 2005. "Upgrading in Global Value Chains: Lessons from Latin American Clusters," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 33(4), pages 549-573, April.
    5. John Humphrey & Hubert Schmitz, 2002. "How does insertion in global value chains affect upgrading in industrial clusters?," Regional Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(9), pages 1017-1027.
    6. David Bek & Cheryl McEwan & Karen Bek, 2007. "Ethical trading and socioeconomic transformation: critical reflections on the South African wine industry," Environment and Planning A, Pion Ltd, London, vol. 39(2), pages 301-319, February.
    7. Bair, Jennifer & Gereffi, Gary, 2001. "Local Clusters in Global Chains: The Causes and Consequences of Export Dynamism in Torreon's Blue Jeans Industry," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(11), pages 1885-1903, November.
    8. Gibbon, Peter, 2001. "Upgrading Primary Production: A Global Commodity Chain Approach," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 29(2), pages 345-363, February.
    9. Murphy, James T., 2007. "The Challenge of Upgrading in African Industries: Socio-Spatial Factors and the Urban Environment in Mwanza, Tanzania," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 35(10), pages 1754-1778, October.
    10. Gereffi, Gary, 1999. "International trade and industrial upgrading in the apparel commodity chain," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 37-70, June.
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