PDF for print    Find calendar

Advanced study course: Global Value Chains

global studies / International Development Studies / International Public Administration and Politics / Politics and Administration / Public Administration
master course
Teaching language

You register for activities through stads selvbetjening during the announced registration period, which you can see on the Study administration homepage.

When registering for courses, please be aware of the potential conflicts and overlaps between course and exam time and dates. The planning of course activities at Roskilde University is based on the recommended study programmes, which should not overlap. However, if you choose optional courses and/or study plans that goes beyond the recommended study programmes, an overlap of lectures or exam dates may occur depending on which courses you choose.

In case of too few registrations, the course will be cancelled.

Detailed description of content

The contours of industrial competitiveness are now increasingly defined by the outlines of international production networks and less so by the boundaries of nations. Production of goods and services is fragmented and spatially dispersed and is governed by lead firms that coordinate the activities of a myriad of suppliers and sub-suppliers worldwide. From a broader perspective, however, GVC governance is also shaped by actors that do not directly produce, transform, handle or trade products and services – such as civil society organizations, trade unions, consumer groups, networks of experts and policymakers, industry groups and multistakeholder initiatives. GVCs have opened up new opportunities for developing countries to participate in the global economy, but have also heightened the related risks and uncertainty of doing so. GVC participation per se does not lead to inclusive development outcomes unless increasing shares of value added are created and captured domestically and are fairly distributed among different social groups. Covid-19 revealed the extent to which countries around the world depend on global value chains for employment, production and consumption, sparking debates over the positive and negative aspects of the dependence and whether global production should be reconfigured. The Global Value Chains course examines these pressing issues of the contemporary global economy, from the perspective of developed, emerging and less developed countries.

In Assignment 1, students are asked to map and measure the position of a specific country in a specific GVC of their own choice, using the tools taught in class 3. It should be no more than 4 pages (7200 characters = 4 x 1800 characters per page). More details are in the course syllabus on Moodle.

In Assignment 2, students are asked to conduct the following analysis: (1) identify the dominant governance structure in their chosen GVC and discuss how it relates to lead firm strategies and supplier capabilities, and then elaborate in their chosen country specific context; (2) Identify and discuss the developmental outcomes in their chosen country from participation in this GVC, in terms of firm level economic and social upgrading as well as broader implications for the domestic economy; and (3) Discuss the causal drivers between lead firm strategies, governance structure and developmental outcomes, in which it is possible to bring in other variables such as host government policies, NGO activities, and worker actions. Assignment 2 should be no more than 12 pages (21600 characters), including list of references. There is no need for a title page, abstract or table of contents.

Expected work effort (ects-declaration)

10 ECTS x 27 hours = 270 hours

Estimated: 13 lectures x 2 =26 hours; Group work and other activities = 40; Preparation for class 13 x 6 = 78; Preparation for the Exam and Exam = 126

Course material and reading list

Milberg, W. and D. Winkler. 2013. Outsourcing Economics: Global Value Chains in Capitalist Development. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Gary Gereffi, 2018. Global Value Chains and Development: Redefining the contours of 21st century capitalism. Cambridge University Press. (Available online at RUC library.)

Hugh Whittaker, Timothy Sturgeon, Toshie Okita and Tianbiao Zhu, 2020. Compressed Development: Time and Timing in Economic and Social Development. Oxford University Press. (Available online at RUC library.)

These books will be complimented with journal articles that cover specific topics in more depth and more recent developments.

Evaluation- and feedback forms

There will be a mid-term evaluation of the course.

There will be feedback on group presentations and other class activities.

There will be office hours for questions, as well as written feedback on assignments after exams. Grades will be provided through eksamen.ruc.dk

Administration of exams
ISE Studieadministration (ise-studieadministration@ruc.dk)
The responsible course lecturer
Lindsay Whitfield (lindsayw@ruc.dk)
Learning outcomes and assessment criteria
  • Specialised knowledge and understanding of a particular topic within one of the three pillars in Global Studies

  • Advanced knowledge of academic and methodological debates related to the subject

  • Skills in selecting and critically applying relevant theories and methods

  • Skills in choosing relevant theories in order to investigate a problem area

  • Skills in communicating and discussing theories and empirical results

  • Competences in assuming responsibility for and reflecting on own learning and that of fellow students by actively participating in group work, presentations and discussions

  • Competences in critically, independently and creatively selecting and utilising academic literature relevant to a specific research question

Overall content

The objective of the advanced study course is to provide the students with advanced knowledge and understanding within a specific research area covered by one of the three pillars in Global Studies: Global Politics, Global Sociology and Global Political Economy. At least two advanced study courses will be offered per semester. The courses offered will change every semester within the following subjects:

Global Politics:

  • International public sector organisations and global governance
  • Regionalisation and regional integration in international politics
  • International security
  • International law and human rights

Global Sociology:

  • International Mobility and information flow
  • International political movements and social change
  • International civil society, law and defence
  • Contentious identities and new global actors

Global Political Economy:

  • Work and globalization
  • Natural resources and geopolitics
  • Trade, investment and global production networks
  • International Financial Economics
Prerequisites for participation
Currently no data from curriculum.
Prerequisites for participation in the exam
Currently no data from curriculum.
Teaching and working methods

The courses are based on lectures, but will also include other teaching and working methods such as group work, exercises, student presentations, peer feedback and field trips or guest lectures as well as other practical activities.

Type of activity

Elective course

Form of examination
Individual written portfolio.

The portfolio consists of 2 written products, that wholly or partially are developed during the course. For example, products can be exercise responses, speech papers for presentations, written feedback, reflection, written assignments. The preparation of the products may be subject to time limits.

The character limit: maximum 28,800 characters, including spaces.
The character limits include the cover, table of contents, bibliography, figures and other illustrations, but exclude any appendices.

The portfolio's specific products and the (if relevant) recommended size (character limit) for the individual products are made public on study.ruc.dk before the course begins.

The entire portfolio must be handed in at the same time.
The submission deadline will be public on study.ruc.dk before the course begins.

The assessment is individual and based on the entire portfolio.

Assessment: 7-point grading scale.
Form of Re-examination
Samme som ordinær eksamen
Exam code(s)
Exam code(s) : U41465
Last changed 22/01/2021

lecture list:

Show lessons for Subclass: 1 Find calendar (1) PDF for print (1)

Friday 12-02-2021 10:15 - 12-02-2021 12:00 in week 06
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 26-02-2021 10:15 - 26-02-2021 12:00 in week 08
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 05-03-2021 10:15 - 05-03-2021 12:00 in week 09
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 12-03-2021 10:15 - 12-03-2021 12:00 in week 10
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 19-03-2021 10:15 - 19-03-2021 12:00 in week 11
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 26-03-2021 10:15 - 26-03-2021 12:00 in week 12
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 09-04-2021 10:15 - 09-04-2021 12:00 in week 14
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 16-04-2021 10:15 - 16-04-2021 12:00 in week 15
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 23-04-2021 10:15 - 23-04-2021 12:00 in week 16
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Wednesday 28-04-2021 10:15 - 28-04-2021 12:00 in week 17
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Wednesday 05-05-2021 10:15 - 05-05-2021 12:00 in week 18
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 07-05-2021 10:15 - 07-05-2021 12:00 in week 18
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Wednesday 12-05-2021 10:15 - 12-05-2021 12:00 in week 19
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Wednesday 19-05-2021 10:15 - 19-05-2021 12:00 in week 20
Global Value Chains (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Monday 14-06-2021 10:00 - 14-06-2021 10:00 in week 24
Global Value Chains - Submission of portfolio (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)

Friday 27-08-2021 10:00 - 27-08-2021 10:00 in week 34
Global Value Chains - Resubmission of portfolio (GS, IDS, IPAP, PF, POL)