Global production networks: mapping recent conceptual developments

Neil M Coe, Henry Wai-chung Yeung
DOI number
#Trade and FDI

In this framing paper for the special issue, we map significant research on global production networks during the past decade in economic geography and adjacent fields. In line with the core aim of the special issue to push for new conceptual advances, the paper focuses on the central elements of GPN theory to showcase recent rethinking related to the delimiting of global production networks, underlying political-economic drivers, actor-specific strategies and regional/national development outcomes. We suggest that the analytical purchase of this recent work is greater in research that has continued to keep a tight focus on the causal links between the organizational configurations of global production networks and uneven development. Concomitantly, considerable effort in the literature has gone into expanding the remit of GPN research in different directions, and we thus engage with five domains or ‘constituent outsides’ that relate to the state, finance, labour, environment and development. We believe such cross-domain fertilisation can help realize GPN 2.0’s potential for explaining uneven development in an interconnected world economy.

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