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Product Modularity and the Rise of Global Value Chains: Insights from the Electronics Industry


  • Byron Gangnes

    () (Department of Economics, University of Hawaii at Manoa)

  • Ari Van Assche

    () (Department of Economics, UC Davis)


The electronics industry has undergone a transformation from dominant vertically integrated firms to a system of lead firms that specialize in single slices of global value chains. We consider the role that modularization has played in this transformation, the insights this provides for our understanding of global supply chains, and the implications for future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Byron Gangnes & Ari Van Assche, 2011. "Product Modularity and the Rise of Global Value Chains: Insights from the Electronics Industry," Working Papers 201119, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hai:wpaper:201119

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Langlois, Richard N., 2002. "Modularity in technology and organization," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 49(1), pages 19-37, September.
    2. Hart, Oliver & Moore, John, 1990. "Property Rights and the Nature of the Firm," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 98(6), pages 1119-1158, December.
    3. Mona Haddad & Ben Shepherd, 2011. "Managing Openness : Trade and Outward-oriented Growth After the Crisis," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 2283.
    4. Grossman, Sanford J & Hart, Oliver D, 1986. "The Costs and Benefits of Ownership: A Theory of Vertical and Lateral Integration," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 691-719, August.
    5. Pol Antras & Elhanan Helpman, 2004. "Global Sourcing," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(3), pages 552-580, June.
    6. Ari Van Assche & Byron Gangnes, 2010. "Electronics production upgrading: is China exceptional?," Applied Economics Letters, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 477-482.
    7. Carliss Y. Baldwin & Kim B. Clark, 2000. "Design Rules, Volume 1: The Power of Modularity," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262024667, July.
    8. repec:hrv:faseco:4784029 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Ram Mudambi, 2008. "Location, control and innovation in knowledge-intensive industries," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 8(5), pages 699-725, September.
    10. Ornelas, Emanuel & Turner, John L., 2008. "Trade liberalization, outsourcing, and the hold-up problem," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 225-241, January.
    11. Barbara Spencer, 2005. "International outsourcing and incomplete contracts," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 38(4), pages 1107-1135, November.
    12. Carl Bonham & Byron Gangnes & Ari Van Assche, 2007. "Fragmentation and East Asia's information technology trade," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 39(2), pages 215-228.
    13. Mathias Thoenig & Thierry Verdier, 2010. "A macroeconomic perspective on Knowledge Management," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 33-63, March.
    14. Ma, Alyson C. & Van Assche, Ari & Hong, Chang, 2009. "Global production networks and China's processing trade," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 20(6), pages 640-654, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ricardo Monge-González & Sandro Zolezzi, 2012. "Insertion of Costa Rica in Global Value Chains: A Case Study," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 4256, Inter-American Development Bank.

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    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • C73 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Game Theory and Bargaining Theory - - - Stochastic and Dynamic Games; Evolutionary Games

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