Does improved export performance result in social upgrading? While most research presumes economic upgrading leads directly to social upgrading in global value chains, this connection has not been analyzed in a systematic fashion. Research on apparel, horticulture, mobile phones and tourism value chains in ten or more developing countries (1990-2009) indicates:
- Economic upgrading is generally a necessary but insufficient condition for social upgrading.
- Economic downgrading, and especially social downgrading, is more common than previous research would indicate.
- Trade policy could play an important role in shaping and connecting economic and social upgrading.