Gvc in Advanced Economies: Re-Shoring and Re-Industrialisation

Session Organizers:
Mariachiara Barzotto , Mario Volpe and Lisa De Propris
Lisa De Propris
Thursday, 2 July 2015: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
TW1.2.01 (Tower One)
In the last decades, the global economy has gone through an intense reorganisation. This change has been characterised by a cross-border fragmentation of the production processes that has given rise to the formation of global value chains (Gereffi et al., 2001). Companies localised in high-income economies have mainly focused on performing high value-added upstream and downstream activities, offshoring low value-added operations to low-cost labour locations.

More recently the benefits of this tendency for advanced economies has been questioned (Pisano and Shih, 2012; Berger, 2013), since offshoring has triggered de-industrialization process that has threatened innovation capabilities. Indeed, the relocation of operations away from industrialised nations has led to the erosion of manufacturing competences, skills (Bailey et al., 2010), and - in general - of all the Marshallian externalities of the domestic environment that have supported the growth of high-income countries in the past.

In order to counter these negative trends, enterprises based in in advanced economies have started “moving manufacturing back to the country of its parent company” (Ellram, 2013: 3), a phenomenon referred to as re-shoring. The re-shoring trend has impacted the structure of the Global Value Chains (GVCs) by re-defining the optimal location for manufacturing and the relationships among the actors engaged with the GVC. Enterprises that have decided to bring their production activities back and/or near to their country of origin had to face a domestic environment that is different from the one they left. Indeed, offshoring processes may have progressively hollowed out local resources, such as the downgrading of skills and the erosion of industrial “ecosystems” (Berger, 2013).

Notwithstanding a growing body of research that is drawing attention to this discourse (see Christopherson et al., 2014), there are important issues that have been overlooked. This paper session aims to investigate to what extent advanced countries could undertake re-industrialisation processes in order to boost their long-term competitiveness. We encourage contributions that provide insight on (but not limited to) themes such as:

• Why and how Western industrialised economies should try to rebuild their manufacturing heritage?

• What are the main features of re-shoring processes? In particular, what are the emerging trends in terms of business functions (Brown et al., 2013) that companies are moving back?

• How can we measure the erosion of industrial commons (Pisano and Shih, 2012) that characterise the advanced economies?

• To what extent should policy-makers support and promote a manufacturing renaissance in advanced countries?

• How can education systems (higher education, vocational education and training) intervene to tackle skill shortage in Western industrialised economies?

We invite papers that address these issues on theoretical, methodological or empirical level, or some combination.

Disintegration and Re-Integration of the Value Chain: Preliminary Evidence on the Re-Shoring of Business Services
Filippo Albertoni, Politecnico di Milano; Stefano Elia, Politecnico di Milano; Lucia Piscitello, Politecnico di Milano
Shortening British Manufacturing Value Chains: Onshoring or Reshoring?
David Bailey, Aston Business School; Lisa De Propris, The University of Birmingham
Companies' International Openness and Local Common-Pool Resources: The Need for Balance in Advanced Economies
Mariachiara Barzotto, Ca' Foscari University Venice; Mario Volpe, Ca' Foscari University Venice; Giancarlo Corņ, Ca' Foscari University Venice
See more of: O: Global Value Chains