Handbook on Global Value Chains.

AuthorLee, Cassey

Handbook on Global Value Chains, edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert.

Massachusetts, USA: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2019. Pp. 640.

In recent years, global value chains (GVCs) have become an important area of research in international and development economics. Given that this volume comprises thirty-five core chapters divided into five parts, it is a difficult task to summarize and review all these chapters in detail. Instead of following the conventional approach, this essay provides a broad review in terms of the different parts of the volume.

Part I is devoted to reviews of the methodological framework underlying the study of GVCs. The five chapters in this section offer a very useful summary of how GVCs are studied in the literature. The empirical examples included in the first three chapters are particularly useful for those keen on diving into studying GVCs in specific industries. These chapters are methodically complemented by Chapters 4 and 5, which review the models used by sociologists and economists.

Part II of the volume covers a broad range of topics such as governance (Chs 6 and 7), inequality (Chs 8-11) and environment (Chs 12-13). The methodological approaches employed here are diverse--political economy, sociology (and organization) and political economy (classical/Ricardian, neo-Marxian/developmentalist, neo-Gramscian). The chapters on governance dwell on the role of power in shaping the structure of GVC networks. Moreover, the impact of GVCs on inequality is examined from the perspective of the creation and extraction of rents. Inequality is also examined in terms of uneven development (North-South) and contestations/conflicts. While the environment has not received enough attention in the mainstream economics literature on GVCs, the environment chapters in this volume take a perspective that stretches the vertical chain of production and extraction of rents, covering the natural ecosystem and sustainability management approaches.

The seven chapters (Chs 14-20) that make up Part III of the volume focus on the different aspects relevant to GVC upgrading. The typologies and trajectories of economic upgrading are carefully discussed in Chapter 14. This is a valuable chapter for scholars who are just beginning to examine this topic. Services are an integral component of GVCs and their role in upgrading is explored in Chapter 15. The remaining chapters in this section cover ethical and social dimensions...

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