In the last decades, the processes related to production of goods and services have become increasingly specialized and fragmented in different countries. Organizational fragmentation went along with geographical fragmentation, as firms tend to focus on core business in their home markets and outsource the rest of the process. Comparative advantage in final products does no longer describe the patterns of international trade, as the production of components and assembling of goods (not to mention services) are scattered over the globe in complex international production networks (IPNs).

The experience of the last three decades has proven that specialization pays. Global value chains (GVCs) reached their peaked in 2008 at 52% of global trade, decreasing thereafter probably because full ripening made further specialization more challenging.

GVCs, as well as macro-regional networks, resulted crucial in boosting growth in many developing and emerging economies, as joining GVCs is easier than building whole industries from scratch. In these countries GVCs contributed to economic growth and poverty reduction, but they also triggered unbalances, inequality, and environmental degradation. Moreover, the poorest countries have often been excluded from the GVCs or were in peripheral positions.

OEET research focuses on how GVCs are evolving over time and how they reshape the relationships between advanced and emerging economies, also through sector-specific or firm-specific studies. Moreover, we want to explore the opportunities and the risks related to joining GVCs in terms of structural change and sustainable economic development.

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