Industrial robots, 3D printing, and artificial intelligence are rapidly changing the face of global production and trade. Global sales of industrial robots reached a new record of 387,000 units last year and robot adoption is projected to grow in the coming years. Techno-pessimists fear that developing countries might lose the opportunity to export themselves out of poverty by linking into Global Value Chains (GVCs), as firms in rich countries relocate robot-driven production closer to home.
Last month I announced that the 2020 World Development Report (WDR2020) will focus on global value chains (GVCs) and what they mean for development. Does participating in GVCs promote development? Why are some low-income developing countries reaping the benefits and others not? What can countries do to gain from trade and GVCs, particularly when new technologies are bringing change and the global status quo is in a state of flux? You can read my recent blog post for a summary of the Report’s objectives or read the Concept Note directly.