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Global Value Chains and Industrial Relations in the Global South: Social Upgrading Paths in Different Industries

In: Journal of Labor and Society
Authors:
Christina TeipenDepartment of Business and Economics, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, Badensche Straße 52, 10825 Berlin, Germany, christina.teipen@hwr-berlin.de

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Fabian MehlDepartment of Business and Economics, Hochschule für Wirtschaft und Recht Berlin, Badensche Straße 52, 10825 Berlin, Germany, fabian.mehl@hwr-berlin.de

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Abstract

The article compares social upgrading trends in four global value chains (apparel, automobiles, electronics and it services) and six developing and emerging economies (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, South Africa and Vietnam). It applies a framework, which combines analyses of industry-specific governance modes with recent theoretical approaches from the field of industrial relations. The empirical results show that prospects for social upgrading within similar segments of a particular value chain considerably depend on the national context. The article thus highlights the importance of integrating the role of national institutions into global value chain analysis in order to better explain variegated upgrading dynamics across different countries and industries.

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