Edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert
Chapter 4: Global value chains and quantitative macro-comparative sociology
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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