Power has been a foundational concept in global value chain (GVC) research. Yet, in most GVC scholarship, power is not explicitly defined and is applied as a unitary concept, rather than as having multiple dimensions. Clarifying the concept of power has become particularly urgent in recent years as GVC research has proliferated beyond dyads of transacting firms or firm-state linkages and incorporated other stakeholders and mechanisms such as NGOs, labor unions, standards, norms and conventions. In this article, we propose a typology for the varied meanings and usages of power in GVC governance. We delineate two principal dimensions: transmission mechanisms–direct and diffuse; and arena of actors–dyads and collectives. Combined, these two dimensions yield four ideal types of power in GVC governance: bargaining, demonstrative, institutional and constitutive. We offer brief illustrations of these four types of power and provide an agenda for further research in the field.
- Global value chains (GVC)