Groupe d’études et de recherche en analyse des décisions

Globalisation and evolution of the value chain: Winners and losers

Jacques-Francois Thisse

This paper focuses on two distinct facets of globalization: the decrease in the trade costs of goods and the decline of communication costs between headquarters and production facilities within firms. When the unskilled have about the same wage in the two regions, the decrease of these costs fosters the gradual agglomeration of plants in the core region accommodating the headquarters. By contrast, when the wage gap is significant, the process of integration eventually triggers the re-location of plants into the periphery. In particular, when the process of re-location is driven by falling communication costs, the welfare of all workers living in the core goes down whereas the welfare of those who reside in the periphery rise.