The increasing salience of global value chains and their analysis has created tremendous demand for “mapping” these chains. How can we quantify the ‘value’ along a chain? How can we visualize the connections between each link?
These are questions we’ve been seeking to answer at the World Bank Group. And we’ve developed a new visualization tool, accessible through our World Integrated Trade Solution database
, which allows the public to explore the quantifiable reality of GVCs.
To give you an example of how it works, let’s look at the automotive sector—a very prominent and commonly discussed GVC.Sturgeon and Memedovic
developed a methodology to break down the automotive production chain into final
goods—those purchased by the consumer—and intermediate
goods—those purchased by other manufacturers as inputs to be used in their own production. They identify three main GVC ‘nodes’: Automotive components (made by suppliers); engines, transmissions, and body assemblies (made by automakers); and finished motor vehicles. Table 1 shows the main exporting country within each of these nodes and its relative market share within that node.
Table 1: Main exporter by automotive GVC node, 2014
Table 2 goes one step further. By digging into the trade data, we can identify the most important products for each GVC node, in terms of their relative weight on world trade. This also helps us, in part, to identify which products or activities along the production chain are most significant or add the most value.
Table 2: Most traded product by automotive GVC node, 2014
Perhaps not surprisingly, the most exchanged automotive input ‘made by suppliers’ in 2014 falls under the classification HS870899—‘parts and accessories.’ Now, to better understand exactly how these parts and accessories move along the GVC, we can use our Global Trade Network tool on WITS to map all of the bilateral trade flows for HS870899. 
Figure 1: Global Trade Network visualization for HS870899 - Supplier perspective, 2014