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Productive Transformation in Developing Countries

Under this research theme, we will develop an interdisciplinary framework to better understand productive transformation in developing countries, which incorporates a range of factors, including the global economic system (and the power relations behind it), technological changes, the financial and the corporate systems, social conflicts, and power struggles.

Productive transformation – the transformation of the economic structure and the underlying productive capabilities – was at the heart of the development discourse in its early days, between the 1930 and the 1970s. Since the 1980s, its importance has been played down, and until recently, development was equated with poverty reduction and the provision of basic needs. Fortunately, in the last decade or so, there has been a growing recognition that economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable development requires productive transformation, involving diversification, upgrading, and structural change. Despite the importance of economic issues in the process of productive transformation, it cannot be understood simply with economics, as it also involves power struggle, social conflicts, and institution building, and policy coordination. Under this research theme, we will develop an interdisciplinary framework to better understand productive transformation in developing countries, which incorporates a range of factors, including the global economic system (and the power relations behind it), technological changes, the financial and the corporate systems, social conflicts, and power struggles.

The main themes we will explore include:

  • The theories of diversification, upgrading, and structural change
  • The global economic system and the shrinkage of ‘policy space’ for developing countries
  • The dynamics of global value chains, including the influence of the financial market and the new corporate governance system on its evolution
  • How developing countries may engage with global value chains to achieve genuine transformation of their economies
  • The political economy of technological upgrading in developing countries
  • The nature and the impacts of ‘new technologies’ on developing countries
  • The so-called ‘middle-income trap’ and ways to overcome it
  • The elaboration of theories of industrial policy, including its political and social dimensions
  • The practical design of structural upgrading strategy, including the development of appropriate indicators

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Tri-Continental Tea Seminar: The Politics of Science and Technology in the Global South

Nov 27, 2017

The Consortium for the Global South invites you to participate in the first of its Tricontinental Tea Seminars. This informal series is intended to connect researchers working in different departments and disciplines within the University departments, to share knowledge, and to explore the potential for future collaborative projects.