Outsourcing governance: states and the politics of a ‘global value chain world’


Journal Article

© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Politics, and by extension states, are marginal in debates about the genesis, evolution and functioning of the global value chain (GVC)-based global economy. We contend here that the core complexity of state agency and state power needs to be much more carefully understood in GVC and related debates, as a basis on which the governance of the evolving GVC world can be properly theorised as revolving around the inseparability of economic and political power. We advance a framework for understanding the role of politics and states in the construction and maintenance of a GVC world, using a three-fold typology of facilitative, regulatory and distributive forms of governance, and propose a notion of ‘outsourcing governance’ as an attempt to capture the ways in which states purposefully, through active political agency, have engaged in a process of delegating a variety of governance functions and authority to private actors. Our overarching argument is normative: ‘outsourced governance’ of the form we currently observe is associated with regressive distributional outcomes, and is antithetical to an inclusive and sustainable global economy.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Mayer, FW; Phillips, N

Published Date

  • March 4, 2017

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 22 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 134 - 152

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-9923

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1356-3467

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/13563467.2016.1273341

Citation Source

  • Scopus