State Upgrading in Global Value Chains and Production Networks: A Conceptual Note

Andries Bezuidenhout, Søren Jeppesen

Publikation: Working paperForskningpeer review

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Despite the contribution and influence of the Global Value Chains (GVCs) and Global Production Networks (GPNs) perspectives on our understanding of processes of economic and social development, the understanding of the role of the state within in this framework has some limitations. Based on an assessment of perspectives on the role of the state within GVCs/GPNs, we propose that there is a need to supplement these existing understandings of the state with an analysis of ‘state upgrading’. Recognizing state upgrading as a distinct process, but related to economic and social upgrading, provides an opportunity to analyze in more detail the dynamic exchange between state institutions and GVCs/GPNs. This allows for the development of an enhanced understanding of what the substantive dimensions of the role of the state within GVCs/GPNs consists of. We suggest that such dimensions should include ‘state representational upgrading’ and ‘state institutional upgrading’. We further propose to extent the analysis to what we term the ‘upgrading nexus’ – describing the dynamic interaction between the three types of upgrading in relation to the main actors in GVCs/GPNs (the private sector/industry, the civil society/labor, and the state). With such an approach, we imply an analytical understanding of how economic, social, and state upgrading in GVCs/GPNs are either mutually reinforcing, or potentially mutually undermining. Our aim is to suggest a way of analytically addressing the role of the state within GVCs/GPNs to supplement and refine existing approaches, not to propose to develop an original theory of the state
UdgiverCentre for Business and Development Studies
Antal sider37
ISBN (Elektronisk)9788797317068
StatusUdgivet - 2023
NavnCBDS Working Paper


  • Global value chains
  • Global production networks
  • State upgrading
  • State representational upgrading
  • State institutional upgrading
  • Upgrading nexus