Characterizing Global Value Chains: Production Length and Upstreamness
We develop a new set of country-sector level indicators of Global Value Chains (GVCs) characteristics in terms of average production length, and relative “upstreamness” on a production network, which we argue are better than the existing ones in the literature. We distinguish production activities into four types: those whose value added is both generated and absorbed within the country, those whose value-added crosses borders only once for consumption, those whose value added crosses borders only once for production, and those whose value added crosses borders more than once. Based on such an accounting framework, we further decompose total production length into different segments. Using these measures, we characterize cross-country production sharing patterns and their evolution for 56 sectors and 44 countries over 2000-2014. While the production chain has become longer for the world as a whole, there are interesting variations across countries and sectors.
The research in the paper was carried out in part when Wei was the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Yu and Zhu were consultants for the ADB. The views in the paper, however, are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of ADB or its Board of Governors or the governments they represent, nor those of any other organization that the authors are affiliated with, nor those of the National Bureau of Economic Research. Zhi Wang acknowledges research and financial support from the Stanford Center for International Development.
Zhi Wang acknowledges the research and financial support from Stanford Center for International Development.