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.


imageDuke CGGC has conducted research that focuses on the Russia / CIS region.
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International Trade Centre (ITC)

imageThe Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (Duke CGGC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that establishes the framework for institutional cooperation.

The cooperation will focus on the following areas:
  • Development of methodologies and global value chain (GVC) analytical tools for inclusive sector development
  • Joint implementation concentrating on GVC analysis and promotion of multi-stakeholder governance frameworks
  • Capacity building of local stakeholders with a special focus on ITC’s Alliances for Action methodology that fosters public-private collaboration conducive to sustainable, inclusive and resilient value chains
  • Facilitation of public-private alliances and formulation of sector development strategies aimed at supporting inclusive and sustainable participation in value chains, and
  • Collaboration in fundraising and project development

Specific projects within the scope of this MoU will be communicated in due course. This MoU builds on a Duke CGGC research study undertaken as part of the European Union funded project being jointly implemented by ITC and the Caribbean Agricultural Research and Development Institute entitled “Connecting to the World Market Through Regional Value Chains: Partnership Opportunities in the Coconut Value Chain for the Small Caribbean Economies.” Duke CGGC researcher Ajmal Abdulsamad was the author of this study and is expected to lead new projects resulting from this MoU.

“ITC and Duke CGGC share a common goal to foster inclusive growth,” said Duke CGGC Director Gary Gereffi. “There are many opportunities to leverage global value chain analysis to shed light on the competitiveness issues and opportunities for different sectors. The research that results from this MoU will provide real-world practical advice that informs decision-making for specific stakeholders and benefits the international development community overall.”

“ITC is committed to playing a leading role in identifying, sharing and developing thought leadership and practical approaches to support our clients to innovate and make better decisions on how they participate in trade to achieve impact at large for inclusive social and economic development,” said Anders Aeroe, Director for Enterprises and Institutions at ITC. “Our collaboration with Duke CGGC is a strategic way to maximize the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in value chains, and build and strengthen public-private partnerships and alliances that result in better and more sustainable trade.”

For more information please contact:
  • Mr. Hernan Manson, Senior Officer Sector and Enterprise Competitiveness, ITC,
  • Mr. Ajmal Abdulsamad, Senior Research Analyst, Duke CGGC,

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imageUSAID/Philippines commissioned Duke CGGC to undertake this study for the Philippines Department of Trade and Industry Board of Investments in support of the country’s new industry development policies. The objective of the study was to understand the participation of the Philippines in five manufacturing global value chains: aerospace, automotive, chemicals, electronics & electrical, and paper. The ultimate goal was to provide a set of recommendations to the government of the Philippines to enhance the participation and upgrading in the industries selected.

This study was made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Duke University Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.
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imageDuke CGGC conducted a study, Opportunities for Upgrading in Peru, 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.
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International Growth Centre

imageDuke CGGC partnered with the International Growth Centre to analyze three value chains in Rwanda and Uganda: dairy processing, maize and tourism. The objective of the study was to identify areas where regional integration could strengthen the chain.
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National Analytical Center (NAC), Kazakhstan

imageDuke CGGC is in the midst of a three-year (2015-2017) collaboration with the National Analytical Center (NAC), an affiliate of Nazarbayev University in Kazakhstan. NAC established a Regional Competitiveness and Growth Center (RCGC) in November 2015 to serve as an analytical platform that informs decision-making for both public and private sectors in Kazakhstan. Duke CGGC is supporting this new center in three key areas:

(1) Capacity Building: researcher recruitment, training of research staff, mentoring and supervision of projects, among other roles.

(2) Research Agenda Support: Duke CGGC and RCGC are developing proposals and projects.

(3) Visibility and Relationship Development: Duke CGGC and NAC will work together on issues related to research priorities, publicity and the RCGC’s relationship development with universities and development organizations.

Thus far, Duke CGGC has:
  • Consulted on the creation and structure for the RCGC (launched in November 2015)
  • Advised on the recruitment of research staff for RCGC
  • Developed an annual project plan
  • Provided rigorous training for the current staff of eight RCGC researchers. This training is not merely assisting the RCGC team in developing their research skills, but fully participating with them in final reports (co-branded as Duke CGGC and RCGC research). Thus far, Duke CGGC has collaborated with the RCGC on the launch of two different research projects.
  • Hosted the RCGC team for a week long workshop with Duke CGGC staff on various topics with project examples of how to apply the GVC approach (September 2015).
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    imageDuke CGGC researchers have conducted a number of studies on Asian countries.

    High Point Market Authority

    imageHow do you quantify the economic impact resulting from a particular event? How has a particular business activity benefited various stakeholders within a specified area? These are important questions that can be best addressed by economic impact analysis. High Point Market Authority (HPMA), the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, can attest to this as a result of its work with Duke CGGC.

    Background: For an organization like HPMA, economic impact is critical, notes Tom Conley, President and CEO of the organization. Twice per year, the North Carolina city of High Point serves as the location for the largest home furnishings market in the world. Some 75,000 visitors flock to the city to buy, sell and market a wide variety of furniture, accessories and design services. There are numerous benefits and a few inconveniences for the inhabitants of the city (the population of High Point is 108,000). For North Carolina, the influx of people for the market results in various economic benefits, both within the furniture industry and for the state overall (despite re-structuring and declining employment in the face of globalization, the furniture industry is one of North Carolina’s traditional industrial strengths).

    HPMA is funded by the state, county and city. In an era of limited public and private resources, Conley and his team were looking to work with an organization that could conduct a study to quantify the economic impact for various stakeholders. Through a connection from an employee at the Department of Commerce, Conley was introduced to the work of Duke CGGC.

    “This individual set up a meeting for us with Duke CGGC,” said Conley. “I was impressed, both personally and professionally, from this initial meeting as well as by evaluating the work done with other clients. The center’s affiliation with Duke established instant credibility.”

    Approach and Results from Research: HPMA engaged Duke CGGC on an economic impact analysis, led by Duke CGGC researcher Lukas Brun and UNC Professor William Lester. Building on the work of two previous economic impact studies, Brun and Lester used a software program to calculate the direct, indirect and induced impacts of the HMPA’s activities. The program estimates the effects of new economic activity within a study region. Data sources included a survey of market attendees, data from the HPMA and information by the NC Department of Commerce. As part of the study, they were able to estimate the financial breakdown resulting from various HPMA activities: spending by market visitors, spending by the HPMA, spending by vendors, furniture sales generated and rents paid by vendors to building owners.

    The study highlighted that the High Point Market as a whole directly employs 21,461 people each year. The market contributes over $5.39 billion in economic output to the overall regional economy, which includes $1.51 billion of labor income. To put this figure in perspective, the total output of $5.39 billion is approximately equivalent to 1.3% of the total gross state product of North Carolina.

    Benefits: In summary, the Duke CGGC economic impact analysis for the HPMA has “become the reference for everything that we do with respect to our public persona,” notes Conley. “We use this study to demonstrate the economic impact from the state, county and city perspectives.”

    Unexpectedly, the study was a useful tool during the 2016 spring market, which generated news headlines following the passage of the HB2 law in North Carolina. The law, interpreted by many to be discriminatory against those in the LGBT community, led to several prominent players protesting their participation in the market. This had obvious consequences and ripple effects for the HPMA.

    “There were some in Raleigh threatening our funding,” said Conley. “While that was politically driven, being able to talk about the economic impact in light of HB2 was very helpful. The study was used in our various lobbying efforts.”

    The furniture industry has endured considerable volatility, particularly since the economic downturn of 2008. At the time of the study, the industry had not fully recovered. New housing starts (a key economic factor in evaluating the condition of the industry) in 2013 was 60% of what it had been in 2007.

    “We were concerned the numbers would not be strong and not reflective,” concluded Conley. “But the study was extremely productive in showing us the complete picture. Even though the study is three years old, it continues to provide value, and the credibility of the institution and the people who did the work makes it beyond reproach.”

    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.
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    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).
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    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.
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    Workforce Development

    imageResearch in this area focuses on identifying workforce development strategies for enhancing the global competitiveness of developing countries.
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    Inclusive Development

    imageDuke CGGC 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?
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    Offshore Services

    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.
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    imageIndividuals within governments, nonprofits and the academic community have an interest in enhancing their understanding of how oceans impact the global economy. 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. Duke CGGC, in partnership with its sponsors, conducts research on ocean-related global value chains.
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    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.

    Duke 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).
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    Food & Agriculture

    imageWe 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. The following is a snapshot of the work Duke CGGC has done related to the food & agriculture industry:
    • Reports: 28
    • Publications: 19
    • 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: 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, The International Growth Centre and RTI International

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    Environmental Impact

    imageDuke CGGC has conducted a number of studies that focus on reducing environmental impacts.
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    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 automotive and transportation industries in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and China. Some of this research was supported by Industry Canada.
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    imageLeveraging the global value chain (GVC) framework, Duke CGGC conducts industry-centric research on economic globalization that highlights linkages across geographic space. This has helped inform decision-making for stakeholders throughout the continent. Our 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. The following is a snapshot of our work on Africa:
    • Reports: 14
    • Publications: 6
    • Geographies: 10 countries (Burundi, Egypt, Kenya, Lesotho, Morocco, Rwanda, Swaziland, Tanzania, Tunisia and Uganda)
    • Clients: World Bank, International Growth Center (IGC), OECD, Oxfam, RTI International, and USAID/ACDI-VOCA

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    imageNanotechnology 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. As an enabling technology rather than a specific industry, developments related to nanotechnology have implications for almost any product in all stages of its life cycle. This requires effective communication among a diverse collection of individuals from multiple fields, each with its own terminology. Adding to the complexity, there are few existing standards within or among disciplines, or even countries and firms. As a result, nanotechnology can be one of the most challenging technologies to effectively communicate and understand.

    To tie together these diverse themes, Duke CGGC Research Scientist Stacey Frederick developed a global value chain (GVC) approach to analyze the innovation to commercialization life cycle of an enabling technology. The GVC framework is used to identify how the actions and relationships between public and private stakeholders affect the development, location, and competitiveness of an industry. This framework helps overcome communication barriers related to nanotechnology topics by enabling researchers to educate and disseminate results on a variety of topics using a comparable method.

    CGGC’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 (CNS). This joint research project focused on the diffusion of nanotechnology to Asia, as well as involvement in nanotechnology in North Carolina and California. We have developed novel approaches to map the dissemination of nanomaterials in a variety of nano-enabled intermediates and final products. Outputs of this collaboration have included conference presentations, educational materials, and websites. One of the key educational resources developed as part of this project is the Traveling Technologies Research Template created for the CNS summer internship program. The California in the Nano Economy website represents an interactive, web-based version of applying the value chain research approach to a specific location (California) and the parts of a variety of industries that are impacted by a particular technology (nanotechnology). A secondary focus of this project is to showcase how visual analytic tools can be combined with the value chain research approach to further understanding of the industry and its economic development impacts and potential.
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    Minerva Initiative


    Civil unrest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) has periodically affected oil and gas exports from the region, helping to drive global surges in fuel prices, and in turn food prices. If future food price spikes last too long, they could exacerbate social unrest in MENA that leads to regional conflict and widespread malnutrition/starvation.

    Duke CGGC has been addressing this complex topic as part of its work with the Minerva Initiative and the Army Research Office (ARO) since 2012. The Minerva Initiative is a Department of Defense-sponsored, university-based social science research initiative launched in 2008 by Robert Gates, the U.S. Secretary of Defense at the time. The Initiative seeks to build deeper understanding of the social, cultural and political dynamics that shape regions of strategic interest around the world.

    Challenge: The Duke CGGC research team’s goal is to identify the energy-exporting countries in the region whose grain imports are at most risk to insecurity. Through a number of projects and analyses, the team is identifying specific risks to the supply chains and suggesting prioritized defensive and/or proactive strategies to deal with problems arising from food shortages in MENA. The approach should provide a framework for conducting similar security analyses involving trade in commodities elsewhere in the world.

    Approach & Outcomes: The interdependencies between global trade and local access to wheat and wheat products can be best understood through the GVC lens. Duke researchers used the GVC framework to first understand the industrial organization of the global wheat industry and then how the chain operates in Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. The five key findings from the report are as follows:
    1. Five major firms dominate the global wheat industry in these markets.
    2. The MENA region uses a variety of approaches to achieve food security.
    3. Several issues, such as environmental distress and water shortages, cut across country cases.
    4. Institutional legacies are very strong in all five countries studied in this report.
    5. The countries are diversifying their supply base.
    As a follow-up, Duke CGGC researchers have published research briefs that examine the wheat value chains in Syria and Morocco. They also studied the increasing role the Black Sea region (Russia and Ukraine) has on food trade into the MENA region.

    Impact Summary “Duke CGGC does interdisciplinary work - a key strength from our perspective. They’re helping us to understand the interdependencies across different social systems (e.g., political, climate change, economics). I don’t believe there’s anyone else in the world doing this level of work in value chains.” – Lisa Troyer, Senior Research Scientist, Army Research Office, Social & Behavioral Sciences Program
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    Energy & Infrastructure

    imageTransportation accounts for 30% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 70% of the nation\'s oil use. Our reports highlight transportation technologies that can reduce carbon emissions and oil dependence while creating U.S. manufacturing jobs. With support from the Rockefeller Foundation, we analyzed the value chain for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and created an interactive online tool for linking high-quality BRT features to firms that provide them. In partnership with Environmental Defense Fund, Apollo Alliance, and CALSTART, we mapped out value chains and domestic employment opportunities linked to batteries for electric vehicles, rail vehicles, and hybrid trucks. Our U.S. smart grid report features innovations that save energy, incorporate renewables, and integrate electric vehicles into the grid.
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    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).
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    Environmental Defense Fund (EDF)


    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 seven reports were produced (Chapters 6-12) on technologies ranging from electric heat pump water heaters to public transit buses.View more information about this series here

    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.

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    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.
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    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.
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    North America

    imageDuke CGGC has conducted several studies that have included North American geographies.
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    Engineering & Entrepreneurship

    imageGlobalization is redefining the face of commercial enterprise, the roles of developing countries, and the power of individuals. Changing business practices and technological capabilities have had lasting effects on the future competitiveness of both established and emerging economies.

    With financial support from the Kauffman Foundation, CGGC engaged in research on engineering and entrepreneurship between 2006 and 2010. The research projects 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.

    A narrow band of firms in China and India in particular are utilizing top talent to explore high-value research and development, and design work rather than low-skilled outsourcing activities. As these trends evolve, the United States, which is known as a fertile startup environment with strong contributions from skilled immigrants, may have difficulty retaining and attracting future generations of immigrant entrepreneurs due to current visa policies. To understand and explore these issues, the Global Engineering and Entrepreneurship (GEE) research group conducted studies on a range of topics, including:
  • Engineering and technology workforce demographics
  • U.S. entrepreneurship and technology startups
  • The U.S. visa backlog for skilled immigrants
  • Intellectual property generation
  • The effect of emerging markets on GVCs and innovation activities

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    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

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