Multinational enterprises (MNEs) take advantage of local differences in their global location of assets and activities. Scholarship in economic geography and international political economy associates value-producing entities organized in Global Value Chains (GVCs), and wealth-protecting entities in Global Wealth Chains (GWCs). At the aggregate level, these are often associated with different geographical manifestations, with GVCs centered around “production hubs” and GWCs around “offshore jurisdictions.” This indicates an asymmetrical geography between value and wealth with a low level of entanglement. This does not account, however, for the ways value and wealth are governed within MNEs. We investigate how the firm-territory nexus can be understood across scales and what this implies for the geographical overlap between GVCs and GWCs. While there is seemingly limited entanglement of GVC and GWC activities at the macro scale, at the meso scale there are overlaps and significant entanglement at the micro scale. This implies value and wealth are more geographically aligned than previously thought, and that initiatives aimed at regulating these chains needs to address practices within MNEs rather than targeting arbitrary geographies at the country level.
Bibliographical noteEpub ahead of print. Published online: 23 August 2023
- Global Wealth Chains
- Global Value Chains