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Thomas Farole

World Bank

Thomas Farole is Lead Economist in the World Bank’s Sustainable Development Practice in Europe & Central Asia, where he guides the group’s analytical agenda to support the transition to sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economies across the region. He has recently been part of the core team on the World Bank’s World Development Report 2020 on global value chains, and has researched GVCs from the perspectives of trade, employment, and social and environmental outcomes. He holds a PhD and Msc from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), and a BSc in Economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
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publication
World Development Report 2020: Trading for Development in the Age of Global Value Chains
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publication
Trade in Global Value Chains : An Assessment of Labor Market Implications

The paper is structured in six further sections following this introduction. Section two develops a conceptual framework, and reviews the literature on the relationship between trade integration and labor market outcomes. Section three outlines the empirical framework and data used in the analysis. Section four presents results on the relationship between overall trade integration (through exports) and labor market outcomes. Section five then focuses specifically on GVC trade, and assesses the relationship between labor market outcomes and GVC integration as a buyer and as a seller. Section six tests if select policy indicators mediate these relationships between trade integration and labor market outcomes. Finally, section seven concludes, with a summary of results and areas for future research.

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publication
Do global value chains create jobs?

Global value chains (GVCs) describe the cross-national activities and inputs required to bring a product or service to the market. While they can boost exports and productivity, the resulting labor market impacts vary significantly across developing countries. Some experience large-scale manufacturing employment, while others see a shift in demand for labor from manufacturing to services, and from lower to higher skills. Several factors shape the way in which a country’s labor market will be impacted by GVC integration, including the type of sector, lead firms’ strategies, domestic skills base, and the institutional environment.

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publication
Making Foreign Direct Investment Work for Sub-Saharan Africa : Local Spillovers and Competitiveness in Global Value Chains

Economic, technological, and political shifts as well as changing business strategies have driven firms to unbundle production processes and disperse them across countries. Thanks to these changes, developing countries can now increase their participation in global value chains (GVCs) and thus become more competitive in agriculture, manufacturing and services. This is a paradigm shift from the 20th century when countries had to build the entire supply chain domestically to become competitive internationally. For policymakers, the focus is on boosting domestic value added and improving access to resources and technology while advancing development goals. However, participating in global value chains does not automatically improve living standards and social conditions in a country. This requires not only improving the quality and quantity of production factors and redressing market failures, but also engineering equitable distributions of opportunities and outcomes - including employment, wages, work conditions, economic rights, gender equality, economic security, and protecting the environment. The internationalization of production processes helps with very few of these development challenges. Following this perspective, Making Global Value Chains Work for Development offers a strategic framework, analytical tools, and policy options to address this challenge. The book conceptualizes GVCs and makes it easier for policymakers and practitioners to discuss them and their implications for development. It shows why GVCs require fresh thinking; it serves as a repository of analytical tools; and it proposes a strategic framework to guide policymakers in identifying the key objectives of GVC participation and in selecting suitable economic strategies to achieve them.

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