economic and social upgrading
in global production networks

Capturing the Gains Revised Summit Briefing No 06.1

Mobile phones: who benefits in shifting global value chains?

Joonkoo Lee, Gary Gereffi and Dev Nathan


Mobile phones have made a significant impact on developing countries, which
have played a key role in the mobile phone global value chain (GVC). The dynamic
of the GVC, notably growing concentration in trade and production and the rise of
low-end markets, is shaping the impact of economic upgrading on social upgrading.
Increased GVC concentration has limited employment growth to just a few countries
and firms, and the prevalence of casual labour has led to segmented upgrading
among workers. Moreover, the low-end market is vulnerable to poor working
conditions. However, shifting end markets are presenting new opportunities for
social upgrading in developing countries.

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