Handbook on Global Value Chains
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Handbook on Global Value Chains

Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert

Global value chains (GVCs) are a key feature of the global economy in the 21st century. They show how international investment and trade create cross-border production networks that link countries, firms and workers around the globe. This Handbook describes how GVCs arise and vary across industries and countries, and how they have evolved over time in response to economic and political forces. With chapters written by leading interdisciplinary scholars, the Handbook unpacks the key concepts of GVC governance and upgrading, and explores policy implications for advanced and developing economies alike.
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Chapter 4: Global value chains and quantitative macro-comparative sociology

Matthew C. Mahutga


This chapter aims to inspire a greater connection between global value chains (GVCs) and quantitative macro-comparative sociology (QMCS). First, it reviews trade theories that have been incredibly influential in the QMCS of economic development and inequality. It argues that, by linking these outcomes to the social relations between networked firms and the modalities by which they touch down in local places, theories of value chain governance yield empirical expectations that are distinct from these theories. It then outlines theoretical and methodological barriers to greater dialogue between GVCs and QMCS arising from the multifaceted embeddedness of value chains and states. Firms are relationally embedded in social networks, but spatially embedded in nation-states. Developmental and distributional outcomes should differ across networked firms and the geographies in which they are embedded. Value chains change over time. National and local Institutions can alter the socio-economic impacts of value chains. Moreover, centuries of methodological nationalism yield statistical data aggregated at less than ideal levels. Third, it reviews recent research integrating GVCs and QMCS to illustrate that careful theorizing and creative/flexible research design can overcome these theoretical and methodological to produce valuable knowledge for years to come.

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