North Carolina

Duke CGGC’s work on North Carolina has covered multiple topics from a variety of angles including contract research reports and teaching/advising through the NC in the Global Economy website and Bass Connections course.

North Carolina in the Global Economy (NCGE): Our main research focus for North Carolina is the NCGE project. North Carolina has a unique mix of industries – from textiles, furniture, and hog farming, to information technology and biotechnology – that each play a prominent role in North Carolina\'s economy. The NCGE project sheds light on how global economic forces affect local development and employment in key traditional and growing industries in North Carolina, and where the state fits into the rapidly changing economies of the United States and the rest of the world.

The NCGE website ( provides a value chain analysis of seven industries to understand key issues and trends, including industrial structure and its relation to the activities of industry and public actors, the impacts of globalization at the community level, and strategies to promote the positive effects of participation in global industries. Using a unique website format with innovative visualization tools, we show how North Carolina compares with other U.S. states and the rest of the world in terms of innovation, jobs, trade, and investment for seven of the state’s major industries.

Bass Connections (2013-2016): is a Duke university-wide, interdisciplinary initiative focused on engaging students in the exploration of unanswered questions about major societal challenges. Duke CGGC participated in the Bass Connections program for three years by leading a course under the education and human development theme entitled “North Carolina in the Global Economy: the Workforce Development Challenge.” The course was co-led by Dr. Gary Gereffi and Lukas Brun with research and technical support from Stacey Frederick. The course was open to undergraduate students from all disciplines and years, although the majority were juniors in Public Policy or Economics majors pursuing the Markets and Management certificate.

Each of the three years had a different focus area related to workforce development and competitiveness in North Carolina:
  • 2013-2014: in the first year, students looked at the seven industries on the NC in the Global Economy website and assisted Duke CGGC in updating the content of the website.
  • 2014-2015: in year two, students researched North Carolina’s position in the defense and aerospace sectors.
  • 2015-2016: In the final year, students looked at North Carolina’s Appalachian Regional Commission’s counties in the automotive and beverage value chains.

The course objectives were to update and extend our knowledge of economic and workforce development challenges in North Carolina’s main and emerging industries. The course was a highly innovative, fast-paced interdisciplinary research collaboration between students, faculty and staff focused on developing practical research and team project skills, creating networking opportunities with professionals (guest lectures and networking), identifying summer research work opportunities, and creating outputs that matter to policymakers. Each year, two teams of 3-5 students created project plans and team charters, developed value chain maps of their industries, invited guest speakers from industry, government, community colleges and non-profits, and developed websites, reports, and academic articles summarizing their findings.

Overview of NC-Related Contract Research
  • Reports: 4
  • Publications: 4
  • Industry sectors: manufacturing (furniture) and energy & infrastructure (solar, smart grid), nanotechnology
  • Clients: Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the High Point Market Authority (HPMA), and the Institute for Emerging Issues

The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina

imageThis report by Duke CGGC for the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) describes a solar “value chain” of investors, solar developers, construction contractors and solar panel and component manufacturers comprising more than 450 companies. Together, these companies support some 4,300 jobs and represent a $2 billion investment. In addition to jobs, solar industry-related businesses provide income for landowners and tax revenue for N.C. towns, the report states.
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Nicaragua and the Apparel Value Chain in the Americas

imageThis report explores how U.S. regional textile and apparel manufacturers are linked to the U.S. industry through textile exports and apparel imports and the the role of trade legislation in the past, present and future of the industry in Nicaragua and the United States.
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The Economic Impact of the High Point Market

imageDuke CGGC was engaged by the High Point Market Authority (HPMA) to conduct a comprehensive economic and fiscal impact of the High Point Market located in High Point, NC. The Market, conducted bi-annually, is the largest home furnishings market in the world and attracts over 75,000 visitors each market session who descend on High Point and its environs to buy, sell and market a wide variety of furniture, accessories, and design services. Beyond attracting a large number of visitors from outside the state, the Market serves a critical function for the broader furnishings industry and is a key node in the overall furniture industry’s value chain. In particular, it is widely known by local stakeholders that a large portion of the sales contacts and transactions for local manufacturing companies are initiated and negotiated at the Market.
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The Furniture Value Chain in North Carolina

imageThis research was sponsored by the High Point Market Authority (HPMA). The report provides an overview of the furniture industry in North Carolina.
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Smart Grid: Core Firms in the Research Triangle Region, NC

imageThe Research Triangle is a smart grid hotspot, with specialized R&D centers, supportive government policies, and roughly 60 core firms whose capabilities stretch across the entire value chain. Research for this report was funded by NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues faculty fellows program, and prepared for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.
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