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The Conference Board’s Trade and Global Value Chains Initiative

The Conference Board’s new research initiative explores the foundations of structural changes occurring in global trade and value chains and the implications for businesses. Much of this research will be informed by new data on global supply chains, such as the World Input-Output Database, which helps to paint a more accurate picture of the nuances underpinning complex international trade and production relationships.

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Bart van Ark
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New trade measurement initiatives, such as the World Input-Output Database, and the research based on these novel data sources are needed to help develop a more accurate understanding of complex international trade relationships created by global value chains. This innovative measurement work is in its infancy, but promises to yield important insights for business leaders and policy makers.

Below are some new areas of research on the impact of global value chains. The World Input-Output Database datasets will facilitate Conference Board research into some of these questions. Other questions may be addressed through more qualitative research until more data or surveys are developed to reveal insights.

  1. What do these trends in global value chains mean for global labor markets? 
  2. To what extent do global labor markets impact how global value chains are shaped?
  3. Is skilled labor a critical factor in organizing value chains and international production?
  4. How do GVCs affect wage volatility? How can global businesses prepare for changes in labor markets and labor cost as a result of the reorganization of GVCs?
  5. How are businesses responding to changes in global labor markets resulting from new GVCs?
  6. What will businesses do over the coming years regarding GVC management?
  7. Will new technologies such as additive manufacturing or new methodologies based on ICT impact the way businesses organize and manage their global value chains? If so, how?
  8. If global businesses reshore parts of their GVCs, what might the result look like? Would the new organization of production resemble former models or would they be more technologically advanced?
  9. What new trade and industrial or investment policies are to be expected given the newly developing trends in GVCs?

Forthcoming in 2018, follow-up reports from The Conference Board will include (a) an exploration of reshoring trends and their impact on labor markets in mature economies, and (b) an interview-driven overview of the implications of trade and GVC trends on multinational corporations.

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