The Globalization of Product Markets and Immiserizing Growth: Lessons from the South African Furniture Industry

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The central issue addressed in this paper is whether some developing countries will find it difficult to compete effectively in global product markets and will therefore be locked into processes of immiserizing growth. It focuses on the role of South African producers in the global furniture value chain, analyzing the factors affecting firm upgrading, particularly the role of global buyers. The paper observes a global industry characterized by increased competition and falling unit prices, with local firms dependent on a falling exchange rate. It concludes with implications for policy and future research, including generalizing the findings to other sectors and countries.