Global production and local jobs: can global enterprise networks be used as levers for local development?

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This article is developed out of a research project on ‘Global Production and Local Jobs’ launched by the International Institute for Labour Studies of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It identifies salient features of global production networks in the automobile, electronics and apparel industries, and discusses their implications for local industrial upgrading, jobs and development policy. The approach combines in novel forms complementary analytical frameworks such as the global value chain and industrial district perspectives, in order to highlight interactions between global and local forces in the operation of transnational production networks. Central issues revealed by this approach include: the rise of entry barriers into the most profitable, service-intensive activities of global value chains, that reduce small firms' prospects for industrial upgrading; the uneven benefits derived from participation in global production networks at the local level; and the need for local institutions to devise policy responses through a flexible, network-oriented approach involving a broad local constituency.