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Global Commodity Chains and Global Value Chains

Joonkoo Lee


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Comment on this article   Research into global commodity chains (GCC), and later global value chains (GVC), is an endeavor to explain the social and organizational structure of the global economy and its dynamics by examining the commodity chains of a specific product or service. A commodity chain refers to “a network of labor and production processes whose end result is a finished commodity” ( Hopkins and Wallerstein 1986 :159). Since the mid 1990s, the concept has drawn a great deal of attention from scholars and policy makers who have grappled with comprehending the changing global economy. This attention has quickly translated into an expanding body of global chains literature. Of 380 publications listed on the Global Value Chains Initiative website as of November 22, 2008 (see Online Resources), 87 percent have been published since 2000 (see Figure 1 ). Figure 1  Publication of global commodity/value chains literature, 1990–2008 Note : “Books” include edited books, “Book chapters” denote chapters in edited books, “Journal articles” include working papers and reports. As at November 22, 2008, 380 entries are listed in total. Source : Compiled from the Global Value Chains Initiative website ( www.globalvaluechains.org ). Meanwhile, global chains research has become multidisciplinary as researchers have entered the conversation from various disciplines. These include sociology, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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