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    Essays on the network structure of global production

    Iliopoulos, Panagiotis (2022) Essays on the network structure of global production. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

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    This PhD Thesis focuses on the notion of positionality of economic agents. Specifically, it explores how the position of capital and labour in the interconnected production processes of the world economy allows for an alternative conceptualization of their power relations. Positionality, in general, reflects the structural advantages of actors due to their position in social and natural systems and it has been conceptually developed and analysed by different disciplines, like sociology, economic geography and network theory. Within the context of the literatures of Global Commodity Chains (GCC), Global Value Chains (GVC) and Global Production Networks (GPN), positionality expresses the topological characteristics of economic actors, within the abstract space that their interrelations generate, in terms of their geographical and functional specificities. The research questions of this Thesis concentrate on the explanatory power of positionality with respect to economic actors in the world economy. In other words, the present research explores how the governance structures of GCC and GVC, and the firm strategies of GPN, are reflected upon the topological and positional dimension of power, through the investigation of three hypotheses: a) the statistical properties of the topology of the abstract space shaped by buyer-supplier relations, reflect the typologies of governance structures found in the literature; b) the spatial-functional position of production processes in the global interdependent and interconnected economy is associated with inter-firm power; c) the bargaining power of labour is related to the importance of the work roles it performs in global production. The methodology employed in this Thesis is multidisciplinary, combining insights from both the ‘chain’ and ‘network’ frameworks found in economic geography and international political economy, as well as complex and network theory, and input-output analysis. The research path followed proposes a significant contribution to the literature of economic geography, international political economy, and industrial relations, highlighting the interdisciplinary link of positionality with respect to power relations. This research is the first attempt to quantitatively map and empirically measure the properties of governance structures in the world economy, reviving the interest in the quantitative aspects of the questions posed by economic geography and geographical political economy. Moreover, highlighting the importance of positionality in the analysis of power relations, a new research path is open for the literatures on international trade and the effects of globalisation, to strengthen their wide array of theoretical approaches and empirical econometric techniques.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Additional Information: Date of award confirmed as 2022 by registry.
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 11 May 2022 16:48
    Last Modified: 01 Nov 2023 15:33


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