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COVID-19’s impacts on global value chains, as seen in the apparel industry

Castañeda-Navarrete, Jennifer, Hauge, Jostein and López-Gómez, Carlos (2021) COVID-19’s impacts on global value chains, as seen in the apparel industry. Development Policy Review, 39 (6). 953 - 970. ISSN 0950-6764

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Identification Number: 10.1111/dpr.12539


Motivation: The COVID-19 pandemic has massively disrupted international trade and global value chains. Impacts, however, differ across regions and industries. This article contributes to a better understanding of the scale of disruptions to industries and value chains integral to the economies of and livelihoods in developing countries, and what role policy can play to mitigate harm. Purpose: This article aims to: (1) analyse and characterize disruptions to the global apparel value chain caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on how developing countries have been impacted, and; (2) identify key policies to support a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery. Approach and methods: We review COVID-19 related reports published by international and non-governmental organizations, international trade and production statistics, industry surveys and media reports. We frame our analysis predominantly within the Global Value Chains literature. Findings: The global apparel value chain has been severely disrupted by the pandemic, owing to direct effects of sickness on workers in factories, reduced output of materials—cloth, thread, etc.—used to fabricate clothing, and to reduced demand for apparel in high-income countries. Developing countries are suffering disproportionately in terms of profits, wages, job security and job safety. Women workers in the apparel chain have been hit especially hard, not only because most workers in the chain are women, but also because they have experienced increasing unpaid care work and higher risk of gender-based violence. Policy implications: Five key areas of policy to support a resilient, inclusive and sustainable recovery stand out: (1) delivering emergency responses to ensure firm survival and the protection of workers’ livelihoods; (2) reformulating FDI attraction strategies and promoting market diversification; (3) supporting technology adoption and skills development; (4) deploying labour standards to improve workers’ conditions and strengthening social protection systems; and (5) adopting gender-sensitive responses.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 The Authors
Divisions: International Relations
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2021 09:27
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2024 21:06

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