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Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement

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  • William Milberg
  • Deborah Winkler

Abstract

Abstract The massive globalization of production led by large firms in industrialized countries, combined with the policy shift in developing countries toward export-oriented growth, has meant that economic development has increasingly become synonymous with “economic upgrading” within global production networks (GPNs), that is, moving into higher productivity and higher value-added aspects of production and export. There is much research on economic upgrading in global production networks, connecting economic growth and economic upgrading to international trade performance. There has been less analysis of what such upgrading means for living standards, including wages, work conditions, economic rights, gender equality and economic security. In this paper, we refer to improvements in these aspects of economic and social life as “social upgrading”. This paper reviews the ways in which economic and social upgrading in GPNs are measured. In this paper we focus mainly on developing countries. In the process we also scrutinize the theoretical connection between these two dimensions of upgrading within GPNs.

Suggested Citation

  • William Milberg & Deborah Winkler, 2012. "Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2010-04, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
  • Handle: RePEc:bwp:bwppap:ctg-2010-04
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    8. William Milberg, Rudiger von Arnim, 2007. "WP 2006-3 U.S. Offshoring: Implications for Economic Growth and Income Distribution," SCEPA working paper series. SCEPA's main areas of research are macroeconomic policy, inequality and poverty, and globalization. 2006-3, Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis (SCEPA), The New School.
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    Cited by:

    1. Leonhard Plank & Cornelia Staritz, 2013. "‘Precarious upgrading’ in electronics global production networks in Central and Eastern Europe: the cases of Hungary and Romania," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-31, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    2. Kucera, David & Tejani, Sheba, 2014. "Feminization, Defeminization, and Structural Change in Manufacturing," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 569-582.
    3. Elisa Giuliani, 2016. "Human Rights and Corporate Social Responsibility in Developing Countries’ Industrial Clusters," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 133(1), pages 39-54, January.
    4. Petr Pavlínek & Jan Ženka, 2016. "Value creation and value capture in the automotive industry: Empirical evidence from Czechia," Environment and Planning A, , vol. 48(5), pages 937-959, May.
    5. Johann Maree & Rachel Piontak & Tonny Omwansa & Isaac Shinyekwa & Kamotho Njenga, 2013. "Developmental uses of mobile phones in Kenya and Uganda," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-35, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    6. Tatyana Meshkova & Evgeny Moiseichev, 2016. "Foresight Applications to the Analysis of Global Value Chains," Foresight and STI Governance (Foresight-Russia till No. 3/2015), National Research University Higher School of Economics, vol. 10(1), pages 69-82.
    7. Plank, Leonhard & Staritz, Cornelia, 2013. ""Precarious upgrading" in electronics global production networks in Central and Eastern Europe: The cases of Hungary and Romania," Working Papers 41, Österreichische Forschungsstiftung für Internationale Entwicklung (ÖFSE) / Austrian Foundation for Development Research.
    8. Thomas Bernhardt & William Milberg, 2012. "Does economic upgrading generate social upgrading? Insights from the horticulture, apparel, mobile phones and tourism sectors," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2011-07, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    9. Peter Lund-Thomsen & Khalid Nadvi & Anita Chan & Navjote Khara & Hong Xue, 2012. "Labour in Global Value Chains: Work Conditions in Football Manufacturing in China, India and Pakistan," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 43(6), pages 1211-1237, November.
    10. Tommaso Ciarli & Maria Savona & Jodie Thorpe & Seife Ayele, 2018. "Innovation for Inclusive Structural Change. A Framework and Research Agenda," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-04, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    11. Frenkel, Stephen. & Mamic, Ivanka. & Greene, Laura., 2016. "Global supply chains in the food industry : insights from the Asia- Pacific region," ILO Working Papers 994901863402676, International Labour Organization.
    12. repec:eee:wdevel:v:98:y:2017:i:c:p:536-554 is not listed on IDEAS
    13. Salido Marcos, Joaquín & Bellhouse, Tom, 2016. "Economic and Social Upgrading: Definitions, connections and exploring means of measurement," Sede Subregional de la CEPAL en México (Estudios e Investigaciones) 40096, Naciones Unidas Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe (CEPAL).
    14. Rossi, Arianna, 2013. "Does Economic Upgrading Lead to Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks? Evidence from Morocco," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 46(C), pages 223-233.
    15. Bruno Carballa Smichowski & Cédric Durand & Steven Knauss, 2016. "Uneven development patterns in global value chains," CEPN Working Papers hal-01368948, HAL.
    16. Thomas Bernhardt & William Milberg, 2012. "Economic and social upgrading in global value chains: Analysis of horticulture, apparel, tourism and mobile telephones," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2011-06, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    17. Sukhpal Singh, 2013. "Governance and upgrading in export grape global production networks in India," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-33, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    18. Girish Nanda & Keith Hargreaves, 2013. "Restructuring of post-crisis GPNs: tourism in Indonesia," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-37, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    19. Maria Savona, 2018. "Industrial policy for a Europeanindustrial renaissance. A few reflections," SPRU Working Paper Series 2018-07, SPRU - Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex.
    20. Thomas Bernhardt, 2013. "Developing countries in the global apparel value chain: a tale of upgrading and downgrading experiences," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-22, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    21. Neil M. Coe & Martin Hess, 2013. "Economic and social upgrading in global logistics," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2013-38, BWPI, The University of Manchester.
    22. Siegmann, K.A. & Merk, J. & Knorringa, P., 2014. "Voluntary initiatives in global value chains," ISS Working Papers - General Series 51297, International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam (ISS), The Hague.
    23. Xiao Jiang & William Milberg, 2012. "Vertical specialization and industrial upgrading: a preliminary note," Brooks World Poverty Institute Working Paper Series ctg-2012-10, BWPI, The University of Manchester.

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