Microfoundations of global value chain research: Big decisions by small firms

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In this study, we introduce a unique longitudinal dataset from the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance Annual Survey (IMEFAS) to assess how micro and small enterprises (MSEs) partake in the global economy by tapping into global value chains (GVCs). The results of the empirical analysis show that the great majority of micro and small enterprises are unable to establish direct links with GVCs. However, two sub-categories of subcontractors and branded producers were able to accomplish upgrading and partake in GVCs after the 2008 economic crisis. For both groups of firms, strategies implemented in domestic value chains contributed to their future participation in GVCs. By identifying small firms’ value chain decisions associated with their ability to access GVCs directly, this study sheds light on the microfoundations of GVCs. It paves the way for the future intersection of small business economics and GVCs, two areas of research that have seldom talked to each other.





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Buciuni, G, J Canello and G Gereffi (2022). Microfoundations of global value chain research: Big decisions by small firms. Environment and Planning A, 54(6). pp. 1086–1111. 10.1177/0308518X221099025 Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25493.

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Gary Gereffi

Professor Emeritus of Sociology

Gary Gereffi is Emeritus Professor of Sociology and Director of the Global Value Chains Center at Duke University (https://gvcc.duke.edu/).  He has published over a dozen books and numerous articles on globalization, industrial upgrading, and social and economic development, and he is one of the originators of the global value chains framework.  His most recent books are:  Handbook on Global Value Chains (co-edited by Stefano Ponte, Gary Gereffi and Gale Raj-Reichert), Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing. 2019); and Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the Contours of 21st Century Capitalism (Cambridge University Press, 2018).  Current projects include:  (1) the impact of U.S. protectionism on jobs and regional trade agreements; (2) evaluating how the digital economy and Industry 4.0 are likely to affect international business strategies and industrial upgrading; and (3) shifting regional interdependencies in East Asia and North America, with a focus on China, South Korea and Mexico vis-à-vis the United States.

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