Carlo Pietrobelli, Cornelia Staritz · 2017
The European Journal of Development Research

Upgrading, Interactive Learning, and Innovation Systems in Value Chain Interventions

Value chain interventions are increasingly used by donors in the context of private sector development. The paper develops a typology of such interventions, and presents the case of one multilateral lending institution – the Inter-American Development Bank. It argues that interventions risk transforming into an empty label and that an understanding of core global value chain (GVC) concepts, such as power, governance, and rents, is necessary. Further, interventions need to consider different learning channels internal and external to GVCs and particularly the interaction of GVCs with local innovation systems, and the interactive and systemic nature of knowledge and learning. These dimensions have often been overlooked in actual policies and programs. The paper concludes that an improvement in the definition of main concepts and approaches derived from the critical tradition of the GVC literature and of learning and innovation concepts is urgently called for. This reinforces the need for a new generation of industrial policies.

Full publication is available on: DOI 10.1057/s41287-017-0112-5

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Carlo Pietrobelli

Carlo Pietrobelli
Uni Roma Tre

Carlo Pietrobelli is a professor and policy advisor with over 30 years of experience on innovation and industrial development and policy. He is currently Professor of Economics at the University of Roma Tre, Italy, Professorial Fellow at UNU-MERIT, Maastricht, and Adjunct Professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.. He was Lead Economist at the Inter-American Development Bank (November 2009-November 2016), where he was in charge of designing and managing programs to promote competitiveness and innovation in Latin America and the Caribbean. His activities included: cluster and value chain programs, the impact evaluation of such programs, innovation and industrial policies, support to Competitiveness and Innovation Councils, programs for local economic development, productive corridors, programs and institutions to support technology transfer and small and medium-sized enterprises development.

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