Valentina De Marchi, Matthew Alford · 2021
Journal of International Business Policy · Springer Science and Business Media LLC

State policies and upgrading in global value chains: A systematic literature review

This paper examines the role of state policymaking in a context of global value chains (GVCs). While the literature acknowledges that states matter in GVCs, there is little understanding of how they matter from a policy perspective. We address this tension between theory and practice by first delineating the state’s facilitator, regulator, producer and buyer roles. We then explore the extent to which corresponding state policies enable or constrain the following policy objectives: GVC participation; value capture; and social and environmental upgrading. We do so via a systematic review of academic GVC literature, combined with analysis of seminal policy publications by International Organizations. Our findings indicate that state policymakers leverage facilitative strategies to achieve GVC participation and enhanced value capture; with regulatory and public procurement mechanisms adopted to address social and environmental goals. Mixed results also emerged, highlighting tensions between policies geared towards economic upgrading on the one hand, and social and environmental upgrading on the other. Finally, we suggest that effective state policies require a multi-scalar appreciation of GVC dynamics, working with multiple and sometimes competing stakeholders to achieve their developmental objectives.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.1057/s42214-021-00107-8

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Matthew Alford

Matthew Alford
Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester.

Dr. Matthew AIford is a Senior Lecturer at the Alliance Manchester Business School, University of Manchester. His research interrogates questions of development in the context of globalization, transnational trading networks and labour. More specifically, he focuses on the role of nation states in governing labour, and how public regulations interact with lead-firm driven private codes of conduct and civil society initiatives across geographical scales. Another strand of his research explores labour agency, and the evolving strategies adopted by workers in contesting their conditions in global production networks (GPNs).

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