Do Global Value Chains Offer Developing Countries Learning and Innovation Opportunities?

The role of developing countries in the global economy via embeddedness in Global Value Chains (GVCs) is increasing, but their ability to become innovation leaders is less certain. Together with Roberta Rabellotti and Elisa Giuliani we published an article in which we analysed the extant literature identifying three dominant types of innovators within the GVC – who display various levels of innovativeness and use different learning mechanisms and investigate the opportunities for local development in developing countries.

More info at: De Marchi V., Giuliani E., Rabellotti R. (2017) ‘Do Global Value Chains Offer Developing Countries Learning and Innovation Opportunities?’, The European Journal of Development Research.

Here the link at the post on the LSE Global Investments & Local Development blog:

New book: local clusters in Global Value Chains

Drawing on detailed studies of different industries and countries, the book Local Clusters in Global Value Chains. Linking Actors and Territories Through Manufacturing and Innovation, co-edited with Eleonora Di Maria and Gary Gereffi for Routledge discusses how clusters are evolving differently in GVCs, given the international fragmentation of economic activities and the increasing competitive pressure to small and medium-sized firms (SMEs) agglomerated in economic clusters because of the consolidation of GVCs ruled by global lead firms.

The book explores the tension between place-based variables and global drivers of change, and the possibility for territories containing such clusters to prosper in the new global scenario considering for the role of key – local and global – actors active in the industrial districts and the innovation and manufacturing capabilities characterising it, being of potential interest for both scholars and policy makers.

Below the Table of content and attached the flyer of presentation of the book with the dedicated discount code! 😉

More info at:


Edited by Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria, Gary Gereffi in Routledge Studies in Global Competition (2018)


Chapter 1. Industrial Districts, Clusters and Global Value Chains: Toward an Integrated Framework,  by Valentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria, and Gary Gereffi

Part I –Co-evolution of clusters and GVC

Chapter 2. Italian Industrial Districts Today: Between Decline and Openness to Global Value Chains, by Elisa Giuliani and Roberta Rabellotti

Chapter 3. Evolutionary Trajectories of Industrial Districts in Global Value Chains, by Valentina De Marchi, Gary Gereffi and Roberto Grandinetti

Chapter 4. Clusters, Industrial Districts and the Impact of Their Growing Intersection with Global Value Chains, by Mario Davide Parrilli and Jiří Blažek

Part II –The role of lead firms in GVCs and clusters

Chapter 5. MNEs and clusters: the creation of place-anchored value chains, by Fiorenza Belussi, Annalisa Caloffi and Silvia Rita Sedita

Chapter 6. The Global Value Chain and the Role of MNEs in Local Production Systems, by Mariachiara Barzotto, Giancarlo Corò and Mario Volpe

Chapter 7. Knowledge, systemic contribution and brokerage in industrial clusters, by Francesc Xavier Molina-Morales, Luis Martínez-Cháfer and José A. Belso-Martínez

Chapter 8. Local liabilities between immigrant and native entrepreneurship in clusters and global value chains, by Simone Guercini

Part III –Value chain activities: rethinking the role of manufacturing and innovation

Chapter 9. Manufacturing where art thou? Value chain organization and cluster-firms strategies between local and global, by Marco Bettiol, Maria Chiarvesio, Eleonora Di Maria and Stefano Micelli

Chapter 10. Networks of clusters within GVC: the case of the European ceramic tile districts in Spain and Italy, by Jose Luis Hervas-Oliver and Mario Davide Parrilli

Chapter 11. The role of manufacturing within industrial districts: proposing and testing an innovative methodology, by Ruggero Golini and Albachiara Boffelli

Chapter 12. New frontiers for competitiveness and growth in clusters and chains research, byValentina De Marchi, Eleonora Di Maria and Gary Gereffi

Quanto si innova in Veneto?

I dati europei raccontano di un Veneto solo moderatamente innovatore. Eppure conosciamo molte imprese nel territorio riconosciute a livello internazionale per la loro capacità di introdurre nuovi prodotti o processi spesso radicali.

Come spiegare questo paradosso? Ce lo siamo chiesti insieme a Roberta Apa, Silvia Sedita e Roberto Grandinetti, svolgendo un’analisi che ci ha portato a descrivere una ‘Via Veneto’ all’innovazione, con meno ricerca e sviluppo formalizzata, ma più diffusa e aperta alle collaborazioni con università e altri soggetti esterni.

Qui l’infografica che descrive i principali risultati, presentati anche al Galileo Festival dell’Innovazione.

Per maggiori info: Apa R., De marchi V., Grandinetti R., Sedita S.R. (2016), Oltre la visione tecnocratica dell’innovazione: i risultati di una ricerca sulle piccolo-medie imprese, Economia e Società Regionale, 3 DOI: 10.3280/ES2016-003007

Infografica su innovazione PMI Veneto – ricerca 2016 – de marchi

Environmental policy vs. environmental strategies: the impact on offshoring decision

The effectiveness of policy pressure in engendering firms’ better environmental performance is a hot issue on the current policy agenda, but the chance for firms to relocate their activities where environmental regulations are less stringent may undermine the effectiveness of the policy instruments designed to reduce polluting emissions. By investigating policy-related and strategy-related elements on Italian manufacturing firms, in the paper ‘Governing offshoring in a stringent environmental policy setting: Evidence from Italian manufacturing firms. Journal of Cleaner Production we suggest that offshoring decisions relate more to a firm’s self-imposed pressure to reduce its environmental impact by means of an appropriate environmental sustainability strategy and on its overall market and ICT strategy rather then by policy stringency. This is especially true when it comes to FDI (as respect to international outsourcing). Furthermore, such a conclusion holds when considering offshoring decision in developing countries as well, even if in here policy stringency plays a slightly larger role.

Implementare comunicazione e reti di fornitura green per le PMI

Che strategie possono implementare le PMI per coniugare una produzione sostenibile e un ritorno di mercato? Quale il ruolo delle relazioni di fornitura e l’importanza di comunicarlo in modo efficace?

Ne parlo con Eleonora di Maria nella rivista Mercati e Competitività con l’articolo “Eco-innovazione, relazioni di fornitura e implicazioni per la comunicazione nelle piccole imprese: un focus sulla moda italiana” a partire dall’esperienza di tre start-up della moda italiana: Ecogeco, Ragioniamo con i Piedi e Re-bello.

The peculiar resources for environmental innovation

Giulio Cainelli, Roberto Grandinetti and I just got a paper published on J of Cleaner Production, in which we provide a comprehensive framework for understanding the specific role of – internal, external and hybrid – resources in the environmental innovation development based on data on Spanish manufacturing firms.

Any comment and feedback are very welcomed!

Local innovation in developing countries via GVC participation

Have a look at the UNU MERIT Working Paper 2015-022, which I prepared with Elisa Giuliani and Roberta Rabellotti as background papers for the UNIDO, Industrial Development Report 2016: IDR 2016 WP 1.

By the mean of a literature review, we analyze local innovation capabilities in developing countries (firms and cluster) in relation to GVC participation, identifying three typologies depending on the engagement to GVCs: i) GVC-led Innovators, ii) Independent Innovators and weak Innovators.

Which knowledge strategies for environmental innovations?

In the paper “Knowledge strategies for environmental innovations: the case of Italian manufacturing firms“, that I co-authored with Roberto Grandinetti and is earlycite in Journal of Knowledge Management, we analyze how green innovators address the knowledge needs emerging when initiating a sustainability path considering for the different importance that sustainability may have for firms.

How do green firms go international?

In the paper ” Environmental innovations and internationalization: theory and practice” written with Marina Chiarvesio and Eleonora di Maria we investigate the specificities of international upstream and downstream strategies of green firms vs. other innovative firms. Thanks to a unique dataset, we open the black box of difference in export destinations (developed vs. developing) and of other forms of internationalisation never studied in the literature so far, such as FDI.