Globalisation, GVCS & TNCS

During the 1970s and early 1980s the global agenda entered the development debate primarily through a concern with Foreign, Direct Investment and Transnational Corporations. The key policy agendas in developing countries in this era of import substituting industrialisation were on maximising the transfer of technology and minimising the costs of technology transfer. However, the slowdown of growth in many domestically focused economies during the 1960s and 1970s and the contrasting success of export oriented industrialisation in the ‘Asian Tigers’ (Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan) resulted in the transformation of development strategies from an inward to an outward oriented industrial and trade trajectory. Export oriented growth became the dominant development agenda.

However, not all insertion in the global economy is gainful for the economy at large and for different groups of citizens. So the key policy agenda is not ‘whether’ to participate in the global economy, but ‘how’ to do so. Despite the hype, for many, ‘economic growth’ translated into ‘immiserising’ economic growth, that is more activity with reducing livelihoods. The key to a successful response to this policy challenge thus lies in the capacity to innovate, often referred in the Global Value Chain literature as ‘upgrading’. Much of my empirical work and policy involvement was in documenting and facilitating these learning capabilities. Analytically I have sought to understand these developments through the concept of rents – the capacity to generate, protect and appropriate rents in a dynamic context.

In the list of publications below I highlight what I consider to be my significant contributions to this agenda.


The Rise (And Fall?) Of Deep Globalisation, 2023.

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Globalisation and Unequalisation

Globalization, Poverty and Inequality: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2005. (Reprinted 2008). (Chinese translation Intellectual Property Publishing House, Beijing, 2008).

‘Export Processing Zones in the Dominican Republic:  Transforming Manufactures into Commodities’, World Development, Vol 21 No 11, pp. 1851-1865, 1993.

‘Rent and inequality in global value chains’ in S. Ponte, G. Gereffi and G. Raj-Reichert (eds.), Handbook on Global Value Chains, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019.

‘Globalisation, Industrialisation and Sustainable Growth: The Pursuit of the Nth Rent’, Discussion Paper 365, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, 1998.

‘If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!: The roots of the East Asian Crisis’, IDS Bulletin, Vol. 30, No. 1, 1999.

‘Is Globalisation really all it is cracked up to be?’, Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 7, No 5. Winter, 2000, pp 1:21

‘Rents, Power and Governance in Global Value Chains’, Journal of World-Systems Research, 2018, Vol. 24, No. 1., (with D. Davis, and M. Morris), 2018.

‘Standards, regulation and sustainable development in a global value chain driven world’, International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 10, Nos. 3/4,  322-346, (with M. Morris), 2018.

‘Thinning and Thickening: Productive Sector Policies in the Era of Global Value Chains’, European Journal of Development Studies, pp. 1-21, doi:10.1057/ejdr.2015.29, (with M. Morris), 2018.

‘What are the implications for global value chains when the market shifts from the north to the south?’, International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 4, Nos. 1/2/3, 2011, pp 13-38, 2011. (with M. Z. Farooki).

‘How can agricultural commodity producers appropriate a greater share of value chain incomes?’, in A. Sarris and D. Hallam (eds.), Agricultural Commodity Markets and Trade: New Approaches to Analyzing Market Structure and Instability, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar and FAO, 2006.

‘’Technological Revolution’ and the International Division of Labour in Manufacturing: A Place for the Third World?’, European Journal of Development Research, Vol 1 no 1, pp. 5-37, 1989.

‘Globalisation, Inequality and Climate Change: What Difference Does China Make?’, Geography Compass, Vol. 2, No. 1, pp 67-78, 2008.

‘Globalisation and the death of the local firm?  The automobile components sector in South Africa’, (with J. Barnes), Regional Studies, Vol. 34, No. 9, pp. 797-812., 2000.

‘Locational Patterns of Direct Foreign Investment and the New International Division of Labour in Manufacturing’, EADI Bulletin, 1-85, pp. 69-94, 1985.

‘Does Industrialisation Beget Deindustrialization which Begets Reindustrialization’, Journal of Development Studies, Vol 22 no 1 pp. 227-42, 1985.

‘The Changing Patterns of Industrial Location and International Competition: The Role of TNCs and the Impact of Micro-Electronics’, Bulletin of European Association of Development and Training Institutes, 1.85: 69-95

‘The International Context for Industrialisation in the Coming Decade’, in Journal of Development Studies,  Vol 21 No 1, pp. 75-96, 1984.

‘Who gains from product rents as the coffee market becomes more differentiated? A value chain analysis’, IDS Bulletin, Vol. 32, No. 3, 2001 (with R. Fitter).

‘Globalisation, Industrialisation and Sustainable Growth: The Pursuit of the Nth Rent’, Discussion Paper 365, Brighton: Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, 1998.

Transnational Corporations

Driving Force: The Global Restructuring of Technology, Labor, and Investment in the Automobile and Components Industries, Westview Press, Boulder, 1988, (with K. Hoffman)

Transnational Corporations and the Transfer of New Management Practices to Developing Countries, Report prepared for the United Nations Centre of Transnational Corporations, 1993, (with K. Hoffman)

‘TNCs in the Third World: Stability or Discontinuity?’, Millennium, Journal of International Studies, Vol 20 No 2, pp. 257-268, 1991.

‘Export Oriented Growth: A Large International Firm in a Small Developing Country’, World Development, Vol 7, No 8/9, pp. 825-834, 1979. 

Role of TNCs in India’s Exports, N Delhi: Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, 1981, (with S. Chisti).

Readings on the Multinational Corporation in Kenya, (ed), Oxford University Press, Nairobi, 1978.

‘Foreign Capital, Employment and Accumulation in Kenya’, Development and Change,  pp. 441-458, 1981.

‘Accumulation and the Transfer of Technology: Issues of Conflict and Mechanisms for the Exercise of Control’, World Development, Vol. 4, No. 3, pp 197-224, 1976.

‘The Role of TNCs in the transfer of organizational technologies to LDCs’, in S Mansoor Murshed and Kunibert Raffer, Trade, Transfer ad Development: Problems and Prospects for the Twenty-First Century, Aldershot, Edward Elgar Publishing,1993.

‘TNCs in the Third World: Stability or Discontinuity?’ in Eden Lorraine and Potter Evan H (eds), Multinationals in the Global Political Economy, London: Macmillan, 1993.

‘Technical Change and the Multinational Corporations:  Some British Multinationals in Kenya and India’, with S Chisti in Transfer of Technology by Multinational Corporations, D Germidis, (ed), OECD Paris, 1977.

‘Technical Change and the Multinational Corporation: Some British Multinationals in Kenya’ in R. Kaplinsky (ed), Readings on the Multinational Corporation in Kenya, Nairobi: Oxford University Press, 1975.

GVCs, Power and Upgrading

‘Introduction’, The Value of Value Chains Special Issue IDS Bulletin, Vol. 32, No.3, 2001 (with G. Gereffi).

‘Rent and inequality in global value chains’ in S. Ponte, G. Gereffi and G. Raj-Reichert (eds.), Handbook on Global Value Chains, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar, 2019.

‘Globalisation and unequalisation: What can be learned from value chain analysis?’, Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 37, No. 2., pp 117-146, 2000.

A Handbook for Value Chain Research, 2001. (with M. Morris) (Spanish translation ‘Competitividad: Conceptos y Buenas Practicas, una herramienta de autoaprendiza y consulta’, Santiago: Inter-American Development Bank, 2004).

‘Globalisation and upgrading: What can (and cannot) be learnt from international trade statistics in the wood furniture sector?’, Industry and Corporate Change, 14(4): 679-703, 2005. (with J. Readman).

‘Governance Matters in Value Chains’, Developing Alternatives, Vol. 9, No. 1, pp 11-18, Winter 2003. (with M. Morris).

‘Global Value Chains, Where they came from, where they are going and why this is important’, Londonin J. Weiss and M. Tribe (eds.), Handbook on Industrial Development, Abingdon: Routledge, 2016.

‘Two scientists for every man, woman and dog in America? How sustainable is globalisation?’ in L. Yueh ( ed.), The Law and Economics of Globalisation: New Challenges for a World in Flux, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar, 2009.

‘The Role of Standards in Global Value Chains and their Impact on Economic and Social Upgrading’, Policy Research Working Paper 5396, Washington: World Bank, 2010.

‘Inclusive and Sustainable Growth: The SDG Value Chains Nexus’, Framework Paper, International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva, 2016.

‘Technological Upgrading in Global Value Chains and Clusters and their Contribution to Sustaining Economic Growth in Low and Middle Income Economies’, Inclusive and Sustainable Industrial Development Working Paper Series, WP 03/2015. Vienna: United Nations Industrial Development Organization, 2015.

‘Value chain analysis: a tool for enhancing export supply policies’, International Journal of Technological Learning, Innovation and Development, Vol. 1 No. 3 2008, pp. 283-308, 2008. (with M. Morris).