The EU and Global Production Networks: The Length of Key Value Chains, Trends and Underlying Drivers

Client/Funding Institution

Joint Research Centre (JRC)


The world economy as we know it today is the result of developments that started in the 1970s. Growing trade volumes, increasingly sophisticated global value chains (GVCs), and rising levels of foreign direct investment characterize the evolution of the global economy over the last 50 years. Against this background, the proposed project studied the emergence of global value chains and their determinants over time. The project had three main objectives: First, to investigate if global value chains grow or decrease over time, and which GVCs show the strongest expansion or contractions, and measure the length of these value chains; Second, to identify strategic value chains and strategic sectors and trade partners of the European Union within these global value chains; Third, to explain the observed trends in global value chains in terms of the drivers of these changes. The analysis of the project was based on input-output data and indicators from social networks analysis.


January 2021 - June 2022

wiiw team Leader

Robert Stehrer

wiiw Staff

Amat Adarov, Birgit Buschbom

Project Partners

The project is led by the Austrian Institute of Technology (AIT).

Keywords: Global value chains, strategic sectors, trends, production networks

Countries covered: Europe, The World

Research Areas: International Trade, Competitiveness and FDI