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Gaaitzen de Vries

University of Groningen

Gaaitzen de Vries is associate professor at the Groningen Growth and Development Centre at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, professor of global value chains at the University of International Business and Economics, Beijing, China, and UNU-WIDER non-residential senior research fellow. He has been part of the World Input-Output Database project (www.wiod.org), and has recently investigated the functional specialization of developing countries in global value chains. He holds a PhD from the University of Groningen.
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publication
Catching-up in the global factory: Analysis and policy implications

MNEs shape the location of activities in the world economy, linking diverse regions in what has been called the global factory. This study portrays the evolution of incomes and employment in the global factory using a quantitative input–output approach. We find emerging economies forging ahead relative to advanced economies in income derived from fabrication activities, handling the physical transformation process of goods. In contrast, convergence in income derived from knowledge-intensive activities carried out in pre- and post-fabrication stages is much slower. We discuss possible barriers to catching-up and policy implications for emerging economies in developing innovation capabilities, stressing the pivotal role of MNEs.

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publication
Functional specialisation in trade

Production processes are fragmenting across borders with countries trading tasks rather than products. Export statistics based on value added reveal a process of vertical specialisation. Yet, what do countries do when exporting? In this article, we provide novel evidence on functional specialisation (FS) in trade. We find surprisingly large and pervasive heterogeneity in specialisation across countries. A positive (negative) correlation between GDP per capita and specialisation in R&D (fabrication) functions is documented. Specialisation in management and marketing functions is unrelated to income. We show how our approach can be easily extended to study FS in trade at the sub-national level. We argue that this is needed to better understand the potential for regional development under global integration.

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publication
Technology, offshoring and the rise of non-routine jobs

This paper documents the growing share of non-routine jobs in the labor force of thirty-seven advanced and emerging countries over the period 1999–2007. To examine the role of offshoring and technological change in driving this labor market development, we develop a task-based model of production in global value chains and propose a decomposition of changes in occupational labor demand. In the setup of the model, technological change affects the total number of workers with a certain occupation throughout the production chain, while task relocation consists of a shift in occupational labor demand from one location to another. For the empirical implementation we combine harmonized cross-country occupations data with world input-output tables. The results of our decomposition suggest that technological change increased the number of non-routine relative to routine occupations in all countries. The effect of task relocation is less strong, and works in the same direction for advanced countries such as Germany and the United States but in the opposite direction for emerging countries such as China and Poland.

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