Working Papers

F. Bontadini, V. Meliciani, M. Savona, A. Wirkierman: Nearshoring, global value chains structure and volatility

Over the past few years, the debate on GVCs and their role in economic growth has gained significant traction with the emergence of more nuanced views. Traditionally, GVCs have been regarded as a driver of economic growth, providing countries with access to larger markets, enhancing the international division of labour and efficiency gains, as well as providing countries with access to frontier technology (Baldwin, 2013; Taglioni and Winkler, 2016). However, it has also become clear that such benefits are far from automatic, as they depend on the position countries occupy within GVCs (Simonazzi et al., 2013; Altzinger and Landesmann, 2008), and on the fact that productivity gains do not always translate into employment and economic upgrading (Pahl and Timmer 2019; Bramucci et al. 2021; Bontadini et al., 2021).

This more nuanced view of GVCs and their economic implications has emerged at the same time that economic integration and globalisation has slowed down, losing steam since the great trade collapse during the financial crisis, bringing the future of GVCs into question. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine have laid bare key dependences of production systems vis-à-vis foreign suppliers and raised questions concerning international fragmentation, its structure, and the propagation of shocks.

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