Global Value Chains, ‘In-Out-In’ Industrialization, and the Global Patterns of Sectoral Value Addition

Antonio Andreoni, Keun Lee & Sofia Torreggiani
Apr 3, 2024
#Trade and FDI
#Sub-saharan Africa
#East Asia and Pacific

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Since the emergence and diffusion of regional and global value chains, production-chain development has always played a key role in shaping countries’ structural transformation. Over the years, the geographical breadth, length, and depth of these chains have changed significantly. Building on the catching-up experience of South Korea and China, this chapter investigates the conditions and processes under which today’s catching-up economies can benefit from integrating into global value chains (GVCs). The chapter empirically documents how successful catching-up has been associated with an ‘in-out-in’ industrialization process of GVC integration, where countries first ‘couple’ by entering GVCs in low value-added segments, then ‘decouple’ by building domestic supply chains and upgrading existing local capabilities, and finally ‘recouple’ by performing high value-addition activities in GVCs. The chapter also assesses the extent to which middle-income countries like South Africa have managed to increase their sectoral value addition in this global production settlement over the last two decades. The chapter finds that today’s middle-income countries have experienced different fortunes at the country and sectoral level when it comes to increasing domestic value addition. The chapter concludes by reflecting on possible future scenarios arising in the post-Covid-19 international context and the emergence of potential new industrialization models.

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