Global Structural Change and Value Chains in Services. A Reappraisal

32 Pages Posted: 8 Mar 2016

Date Written: July 20, 2015


The scholarship on Global Value Chains is very recently recognising the increasing importance of fragmentation of production that involves services – and in particular business services – offshoring. A predominant stand by scholars emerges in this embryonic domain (Blinder, 2006; Gereffi and Fernandez-Stark, 2010; Ventura, 2014). Participation in GVC in business services might be considered a sort of ‘third unbundling’ of internationalisation of production, which opens up new opportunities for catching up in transition and developing countries. What are the theoretical and empirical bases for such a claim? Do these apply to both developed and developing contexts? Is the occurrence of “a flat world” (Friedman, 2005) ultimately responsible for a global sectoral structural change involving services? Is this process leading to smart and equitable catching up processes? This chapter selectively systematises the traditional and emerging literature on GVCs and claims the importance of domestic and local Hirschman-linked specialisation before joining GVCs as a catching-up strategy.

Keywords: Business services, global value chains, Hirschman linkages, development

JEL Classification: F63, L16, L80, O14

Suggested Citation

Savona, Maria, Global Structural Change and Value Chains in Services. A Reappraisal (July 20, 2015). SWPS 2015-19. Available at SSRN: or

Maria Savona (Contact Author)

University of Sussex ( email )

Sussex House
Brighton, Sussex BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

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