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Faculty of Economics

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Andreoni, A., Chang, H. J., Konzelmann, S. and Shipman, A.

Introduction to the special issue: towards a production-centred agenda

Cambridge Journal of Economics

Abstract: Over the last two decades, the global industrial landscape has been dramatically reshaped by profound structural and technological transformations. Global and regional production networks have redesigned the sectoral composition of economies as well as the geography of production and international trade. Sectoral boundaries have become increasingly blurred, as a result of processes of outsourcing and industrial re-organisation along multi-tiered supply chains. The migration of production to lower-cost countries, via relocation or outsourcing, has created challenges and opportunities for continuing operations in higher-cost countries, in services as well as manufacturing (Milberg and Winkler, 2013; Gereffi and Lee, 2016; Lee et al., 2017; Merino, 2017). Technological change has also played a critical role in triggering forms of ‘genetic mutation’ of traditional sectors and their boundaries. For example, in some countries, a traditional sector like agriculture has been transformed in a high-tech sector where vertical farming integrates complex automated feed systems relying on sensors and advanced biotechnologies, while self-driving tractors operate through satellite control systems. Similarly, production processes in traditional heavy industries have been augmented by digital technologies and advanced materials, allowing for virtual product and process development, scaling-up and testing (Andreoni and Chang, 2016).

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