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Issue paper

The effects of global value chain (GVC) participation on the economic growth of the agricultural and food sectors. Background paper for The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) 2020

Trade liberalization has long been advocated as a means to foster growth and welfare. In developing countries, the expansion of global value chain (GVC) participation of agriculture and food sectors could support transformation from a subsistence-oriented and farm-centered system to a commercialized, productive and off-farm centered one.

While empirical evidence examining the linkages between GVC participation and economic performance in the agricultural sector has traditionally relied on case studies at the product level, the availability of new aggregate data on trade in value added, now provides an unprecedented opportunity to carry out a global empirical assessment of the linkages.

The present paper examines new measures of GVCs participation and positioning from the EORA panel data for the period 1995–2015 (Nenci, 2020) and tests their effects on changes in agriculture value added per worker. The results show that changes in GVC participation are, on average and ceteris paribus, positively associated with changes in agriculture value added per worker, net to time-invariant confounders, whereas mixed results are found on the effects of countries’ positioning along the value chain. In the conclusive remarks, the authors argue that import tariff and non-tariff barriers – including barriers to service trade – should be seen as the first obstacle to increase GVC participation and improve domestic value-added. The presence of signs of heterogeneity by geographical location confirms that general universal recipes do not exist.

See here the State of Agricultural Commodity Markets (SOCO) 2020

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