economic and social upgrading
in global production networks

Programme overview

Firms in the North increasingly outsource production and services to developing countries. Are these global production networks (GPNs) beneficial, generating income and jobs, or do they increase risk and vulnerability for poorer producers and workers?

Capturing the Gains explores the role of private sector, civil society, national governments and international organisations in securing real gains for poorer workers and producers in the South.

The concepts of ' Economic and social upgrading' are important factors within global production networks. They contribute to more sustainable growth and development.

  • Economic upgrading stimulates innovation and competitiveness among firms.

  • Social upgrading promotes employment based on decent work and respect for labour standards.

How the two relate, and what strategies can help to combine them, require further analysis.

The aim is to promote policies and interventions for fairer trade, to benefit poorer producers and workers, and promote more sustainable development.

International Research Network

Capturing the Gains brings together an international research network of experts from North and South, to develop an applied research methodology to investigate the following questions:

  • How are private-sector GPNs changing the dynamics of trade, production and employment in developing countries?

  • What are the opportunities and challenges for promoting economic and social upgrading within GPNs, in order to capture more of the gains for poorer producers and workers?

  • What are the emerging governance structures which would support the sustainability of this upgrading?

  • How is the credit crisis and global downturn affecting poor producers and workers in GPNs, and what are the longer-term implications for regional restructuring of trade, production and employment?