Measuring success in the global economy: International trade, industrial upgrading, and business function outsourcing in global value chains

Publication Type: 
Volume: 
18
Number: 
2
Published On: 
2009

This article contributes to an assessment of the scholarly work of Sanjaya Lall, especially as it relates to improved measures of industrial upgrading and technological learning. We argue for the collection of new statistics, in addition to reworking and linking existing data sets. Changes in the global economy, especially the rise of global value chains (GVCs), have created measurement problems that require not only continued innovation in the use of existing data sources, but also the development and deployment of new measures that analyze GVCs more directly. Specifically, we advocate for the collection of establishmentlevel economic data according to business functions. Data collected according to a standardized set of generic business functions can provide researchers and policymakers with a better map of the value chain, reveal the roles that domestic establishments, firms, and industries play within GVCs, and offer a unique view of the competitive pressures facing domestic firms and industries.