Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement

Capturing the Gains Working Paper No. 2010

28 Pages Posted: 18 Jan 2012

See all articles by William Milberg

William Milberg

The New School - Department of Economics

Deborah E. Winkler

World Bank

Date Written: June 18, 2010

Abstract

The massive globalization of production led by large firms in industrialized countries, combined with the policy shift in developing countries toward export-oriented growth, has meant that economic development has increasingly become synonymous with “economic upgrading” within global production networks (GPNs), that is, moving into higher productivity and higher value-added aspects of production and export. There is much research on economic upgrading in global production networks, connecting economic growth and economic upgrading to international trade performance. There has been less analysis of what such upgrading means for living standards, including wages, work conditions, economic rights, gender equality and economic security. In this paper, we refer to improvements in these aspects of economic and social life as “social upgrading”. This paper reviews the ways in which economic and social upgrading in GPNs are measured. In this paper we focus mainly on developing countries. In the process we also scrutinize the theoretical connection between these two dimensions of upgrading within GPNs.

Keywords: globalization, social upgrading, economic upgrading, gender, wages, living standards

Suggested Citation

Milberg, William and Winkler, Deborah E., Economic and Social Upgrading in Global Production Networks: Problems of Theory and Measurement (June 18, 2010). Capturing the Gains Working Paper No. 2010, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1987682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1987682

William Milberg (Contact Author)

The New School - Department of Economics ( email )

65 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
United States

Deborah E. Winkler

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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