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Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Developing a Framework for Analysis


  • Stephanie Barrientos
  • Gary Gereffi
  • Arianna Rossi


Abstract A key challenge to promoting decent work in global production networks is how to improve the position of both firms and workers integrated into value chains in which lead firms play a dominant role. Analysis of global production networks and value chains has focused mainly on firms, often overlooking the role of labour. This paper develops a framework for examining the linkages between the economic upgrading of firms and the social upgrading of workers. It examines studies which indicate that firm upgrading can but does not necessarily lead to improvements for workers. Different trajectories and scenarios are explored in order to consider under what circumstances both firm and workers can gain from a process of upgrading.

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  • Stephanie Barrientos & Gary Gereffi & Arianna Rossi, 2012. "Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Developing a Framework for Analysis," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2010-03, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:ctg-2010-03

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Andy Cumbers & Corinne Nativel & Paul Routledge, 2008. "Labour agency and union positionalities in global production networks," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(3), pages 369-387, May.
    2. C. Dolan & J. Humphrey, 2000. "Governance and Trade in Fresh Vegetables: The Impact of UK Supermarkets on the African Horticulture Industry," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 37(2), pages 147-176.
    3. repec:ilo:empelm:2007-06 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Jagdish Bhagwati, 1995. "Trade Liberalisation and ‘Fair Trade’ Demands: Addressing the Environmental and Labour Standards Issues," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 18(6), pages 745-759, November.
    5. Thomas I. Palley, 2004. "The economic case for international labour standards," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(1), pages 21-36, January.
    6. Gary Gereffi & Evgeni Evgeniev, 2008. "Textile and Apparel Firms in Turkey and Bulgaria: Exports, Local Upgrading and Dependency," Economic Studies journal, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences - Economic Research Institute, issue 3, pages 148-179.
    7. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Keshab Das, 2015. "Situating Labour in the Global Production Network Debate: As if the ‘South’ Mattered," Working Papers id:6665, eSocialSciences.
    2. repec:spr:ijlaec:v:59:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s41027-017-0066-3 is not listed on IDEAS

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