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GPN working paper

This working paper is part of the Global Production Networks working paper series

Global Production Networks and the analysis of economic development

Jeffrey Henderson, Peter Dicken, Martin Hess, Neil M Coe and Henry Wai-chung Yeung

Abstract

The analysis of economic development has been bedevilled by a series of analytical disjunctions that have resulted in work either at macro or meso levels of abstraction or, where empirical investigations have probed micro level processes, the larger analytical picture has often been absent, merely implicit, or at best weakly developed. In this paper, a concept of the ‘Global Production Network’ (GPN) is developed, which attempts to overcome the analytical difficulties of other approaches to explain global economic activities and their impact on development at various scales. After a critical examination of antecedents and contemporaries, we outline a conceptual framework for mapping and analysing economic globalisation and its developmental consequences. In so doing we have foregrounded the ways in which companies organise and control their global operations, the ways in which they are (or can be) influenced by states, trade unions, NGOs and other institutions in particular locations and the implications that the resulting combinations of agents and processes might have for industrial upgrading and ultimately for the prospects of poverty reduction and/or generalised prosperity in those locations. The main categories and dimensions of GPN analysis then are briefly discussed, using a stylised example.

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