Global Value Chains & Development

The Global Value Chains Initiative provides an industry-centric view of economic globalization that highlights the linkages between firms and other economic actors from the global to the local levels of analysis. The Initiative seeks to disseminate recent developments and applications of this research agenda and to foster the development of an international community of global value chain researchers using the tools provided by the Internet.

Opportunities for Upgrading in Peru

imageDuke CGGC conducted a study commissioned by the World Bank to support the growth and productivity agenda in Peru with a focus on three important industries for the country: table grapes, mining equipment and pima cotton. The study resulted in three reports with the overarching objectives being to understand the participation of Peru in each GVC and to recommend upgrading trajectories.
View Grape Report image View Mining Equipment Report image View Cotton Report image

Middle East & North Africa (MENA)

imageCGGC uses the GVC framework to address economic development challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The region has one of the fastest growing populations in the world along with the highest youth unemployment rates. MENA’s economies include high-income countries that depend on oil exports such as Saudi Arabia, middle-income countries with diversified exports such as Egypt, and low-income countries such as Yemen. Recent transitions and unrest demonstrate that MENA nations urgently need sustainable approaches to economic growth that reduce vulnerabilities, create employment opportunities and promote an inclusive and competitive private sector. Our research seeks to better understand complex dynamics in MENA countries to foster comprehensive development in sectors such as agriculture, technology, and energy.
View Project Page View All Reports

Latin America

imageDuke CGGC has conducted research on a number of industries and countries in Latin America for a range of clients including the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), national governments, as well as other industry groups. Our country-specific studies include Peru (2015/16), Costa Rica (2013/14), Nicaragua (2014 & 2010), Brazil (2013) and Chile (2010).
View Project Page View All Reports

COMEX (Costa Rica)

imageDuke CGGC embarked on this study for the Ministry of Foreign Trade (COMEX) in Costa Rica to understand the participation of Costa Rica in four global value chains: medical devices, electronics, aerospace and offshore services. The ultimate goal of this study was to provide a set of recommendations to the Costa Rican government to enhance the participation and upgrading in the industries selected.
View Project Page View All Reports

Workforce Development

imageResearch in this area focuses on identifying workforce development strategies for enhancing the global competitiveness of developing countries.
View Project Page View All Reports

Inclusive Development

imageThe center is conducting research to understand why certain economic actors are not able to participate in global value chains. Research questions addressed include: How can developing countries gainfully engage in GVCs? What are the main constraints that small- and medium-sized firms in emerging nations face to participate in GVCs? What types of policies are successful in linking new economic actors to the global economy and what opportunities do these economic actors have to participate in value chains?
MIF Website > >
View Project Page View All Reports

Offshore Services Industry

imageCGGC is conducting research on the offshore services industry, one of the fastest growing sectors in this globalized economy. Companies in search of lower costs and new talent have begun unbundling their corporate activities and are sourcing them from abroad. The information technology revolution has expedited the growth of this industry facilitating the trade of these service activities.
View Project Page View All Reports


imageAn incredible amount of interest exists in government, nonprofits, and the academic community in the ocean. Whether the interest is in monitoring the health of fisheries, patrolling the surface, or creating precise maps of the seafloor, the need for information on the ocean is vast. CGGC, in partnership with its sponsors, conducts research on ocean-related global value chains. Some of our recent projects, presentations, and articles on ocean-related topics are provided on this page.
View Project Page View All Reports


imageThe apparel global value chain (GVC) has been one of the hallmark cases of globalization, since the establishment of the Multifibre Arrangement (MFA) in the early 1970s through the phase-out of the MFA in 2005. The MFA quota system sparked the spread of global production networks in apparel to every corner of the globe, and MFA phase out has led to predictions that large developing country suppliers such as China and India would dominate apparel GVCs after the mid-2000s.

CGGC researchers have tracked global apparel trends in multiple projects, publications and websites. The apparel industry is analyzed in the North Carolina in the Global Economy website, and it is also one of the four industries covered in the CGGC report on "Skills for Upgrading: Workforce Development and GVCs in Developing Countries" Gary Gereffi and Stacey Frederick have published several articles on apparel GVCs, including a chapter in the World Bank book by Cattaneo, Gereffi and Staritz (eds.), Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective (2010), and Frederick has collaborated with Cornelia Staritz in developing a series of detailed country case studies for another World Bank book by Lopez—Acevedo and Robertson (eds.), Sewing Success? Employment, Wages and Poverty Following the End of the Multi-fibre Arrangement (2012).
View Project Page View All Reports

Food & Agriculture



We live in a volatile global economy, which impacts the food and agriculture industry in profound ways. Stakeholders are grappling with questions such as:

1. In the midst of change, where are opportunities that can be leveraged across the value chain?

2. How can players within the industry partner together to benefit the poor, contributing to inclusive and sustainable development?

3. How do food and trade affect healthy diets?

Duke CGGC consistently addresses these types of questions through its research.


  • Reports produced: 24
  • Presentations and publications: 10 and 15
  • Geographies covered: 20 countries throughout Africa, Latin America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North America
  • Topic areas: competitiveness, workforce development, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), upgrading, inclusive development and public-private partnerships (PPPs)
  • Clients: Duke CGGC has conducted research in the food and agriculture industry for: The World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Environmental Defense Fund, Oxfam, OECD, US Department of Defense-Minerva Initiative, Walton Foundation, The World Health Organization, USAID/ACDI-VOCA and RTI International.

    Duke CGGC Food & Agriculture Reports

    View Project Page View All Reports

    Automotive & Transportation

    imageThe automobile and transportation industries have been considered a classic example of a producer-driven value chain. CGGC researchers, in collaboration with scholars at other universities, have published a wide range of articles on the and transportation industries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China. Some of this research was supported by Industry Canada.
    View Project Page View All Reports


    image CGGC's work in Africa has looked at inclusive development, upgrading, and workforce development opportunities for a number of countries in a range of agro-food, light manufacturing, and service industries. Our clients have included World Bank, International Growth Center (IGC), OECD, Oxfam, RTI International, and USAID/ACDI-VOCA.
    View Project Page View All Publications

    Engineering & Entrepreneurship

    imageWith financial support from the Kauffman Foundation, CGGC has engaged in research on engineering and entrepreneurship since 2006. The research projects have dealt with the state of engineering education competitiveness in the United States, the phenomenon of immigrant entrepreneurship, and sources of innovation and workforce development in varied overseas locations, such as India and China.
    View Project Page View All Publications


    imageCGGC’s nanotechnology research has been supported by the National Science Foundation through a partnership with the University of California, Santa Barbara's Center for Nanotechnology in Society. This joint research project has focused on the diffusion of nanotechnology to Asia, as well as involvement in nanotechnology in North Carolina and California. We have also developed novel approaches to map the dissemination of nanomaterials in a variety of nano-enabled intermediates and final products. Nanotechnology represents an exciting new area of scientific discovery, and has generated increasing interest from government officials, scientists, and the general public in recent years. This innovative field has a broad array of scientific and commercial applications – and an equally broad range of societal implications.
    View Project Page View All Publications

    World Bank

    imageDuke CGGC has engaged in a number of projects with the World Bank. Our most recent project involved identifying upgrading opportunities for Peru in three key industries (2015/16). Prior to this, we conducted a similar study on three industries in Burundi (2013/14).

    The World Bank has published several books that feature work on global value chains by CGGC researchers, such as Gary Gereffi, Stacey Frederick (apparel), Karina Fernandez-Stark (offshore services), Ghada Ahmed (call centers in Egypt), Penny Bamber (horticulture in Honduras), and Michelle Christian (tourism in Kenya). With Olivier Cattaneo and Cornelia Staritz of the World Bank, Gereffi co-edited Global Value Chains in a Post-Crisis World: A Development Perspective (The World Bank, 2010), as well as a special issue of the International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development on “Shifting End Markets and Upgrading Prospects in Global Value Chains” (2011).
    View Client Page View All Reports

    Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

    imageThe Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has sponsored a series of projects, led by CGGC researchers Karina Fernandez-Stark and Penny Bamber, which include carrying out global value chains (GVC) research in a variety of Latin American countries, and also helping the Multilateral Investment Fund (MIF) of the IDB to design and evaluate new GVC projects for the region. In addition, the IDB has co-sponsored a number of international conferences and workshops on global value chains throughout Latin America, and it supported a one-week GVC training program led by Fernandez-Stark, Bamber and Gereffi at the Caribbean Center for Competitiveness at the University of the West Indies in Trinidad in October 8-12, 2012.
    View Project Page View All Reports

    OECD (Paris)

    imageThe Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris has co-sponsored several conferences and workshops on global value chains that involve CGGC researchers, as well as commissioning a number of research reports. To date, this research has focused primarily on improving the participation of developing countries in regional and global value chains, through skills upgrading, a sector-specific approach to improving local institutional framework for competitiveness as well as how to structure policies to optimise value capture in Africa.
    View Project Page View All Reports



    The unifying theme of our work with the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) has been to use the value chain framework to study environmental issues; specifically to identify technologies that can minimize environmental impacts in diverse industries while also creating opportunities to generate U.S. employment. As part of this analysis, we seek to understand the roles of all the players in the value chain and to find leverage points where companies can be leaders in implementing environmental best practices.

    CGGC’s relationship with EDF started with a series of four reports under EDF’s Corporate Partnerships Program (2008-2009). These reports analyze the structure and dynamics of four industries (beef and dairy, hog farming, California crops, and real estate) with the objective of identifying lead firms in each chain that could serve as leverage points for adopting environmental best practices. Two more reports within the Corporate Partnership Program on “China Hotspots” (2010) analyzed the development, diffusion, and adoption of two clean technologies in the United States (high-efficiency motors and industrial powder coatings), to identify the actors and factors needed to facilitate their adoption in other countries, particularly China. The reports describe the major advances for each technology, how the industry is organized, and the role of regulations and industry associations in promoting each technology.

    In the Manufacturing Climate Solutions (2008-2009) series, value chain analysis is used to shed light on U.S. “green job” opportunities linked to carbon-reducing technologies in 12 industries. Each of the 12 reports look at the linkages between low-carbon technologies and U.S. job creation, including labor and skill requirements. The initial report (Chapters 1-5) was released in November 2008 and looked at five technologies. In 2009, an additional 7 reports were produced (Chapters 6-12) on technologies ranging from electric heat pump water heaters to public transit buses.

    In the Gulf Coast Restoration (2011-2012) report series, CGGC produced three reports on behalf of EDF that analyzed the value chain of firms capable of restoring coastal wetlands in the Mississippi River Delta, an area under threat from human-induced damage and natural disasters. The reports address the question, “"If restoration were to occur on the scale needed, what kinds of jobs would be created, and where?”

    In 2010-2011, CGGC produced four reports and two firm case studies for EDF. The four reports were on lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles, the shrimp fishery industry in Sinaloa, Mexico, the U.S. smart grid, and opportunities to enhance industrial energy efficiency. CGGC’s most recent project with EDF (2015) focused on identifying actors and opportunities for the solar energy value chain in North Carolina.

    View Project Page View All Reports

    North Carolina

    imageThe North Carolina in the Global Economy project focuses on understanding how globalization affects both traditional and high-tech, knowledge-based industries in North Carolina. Using a unique website with innovative visualization tools created by faculty and student researchers at Duke, 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.
    View Project Page