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GPN working paper

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

‘Globalizing' Regional Development: A Global Production Networks Perspective

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


Recent literature concerning regional development has placed significant emphasis on local institutional structures and their capacity to ‘hold down’ the global. Conversely, work on inter-firm networks - such as the global commodity chain approach - has seemingly been preoccupied with the organizational structures of global firms’ production systems and their relation to industrial upgrading. In this paper, we argue that more connections should be made between these globalizing processes, as embodied in the production networks of global firms, and regional development in specific territorial formations. Drawing upon the global production networks perspective, we develop a conceptual framework that conceives regional development in a globalizing context. We delimit the ‘strategic coupling’ of the global production networks of firms and regional economies, which ultimately drives regional development through the processes of value creation, enhancement and capture. In doing so, we stress the multi-scalarity of the forces and processes underlying regional development, and thus do not privilege one particular geographical scale. By way of illustration, we introduce an example drawn from recent research into global production networks in East Asia and Europe.

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