The Evolution of Power in the Global Coffee Value Chain and Production Network

Janina Grabs, Stefano Ponte

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The configurations of global value chains and production networks are constantly changing, leading to new trajectories and geographical distributions of value creation and capture. In this article, we offer a 40-year evolutionary perspective on power and governance in the global coffee value chain and production network. We identify three distinct phases that are characterised by different power dynamics, governance setups and distributional configurations. We find that the kinds of power exercised along the coffee chain have changed, but also that the underlying power inequities between Northern buyers and Southern producers have remained fundamentally unaltered.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)803–828
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019


  • Global value chains
  • Global production networks
  • Evolutionary economic geography
  • Power
  • Distributional configurations
  • Coffee

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