Strategic decoupling, recoupling and global production networks: India's pharmaceutical industry

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Contemporary debates on economic globalization have emphasized the development opportunities for the Global South through local firms becoming integrated into the global commodity chains (GCCs), value chains (GVCs) and production networks (GPNs) governed by leading multinational corporations. With increasing attention to the negative sides of integration, an emergent issue is the role of disengagement from, and operation outside of, the GPNs of lead firms. Through the case of the Indian pharmaceutical industry, where a selective and short-term strategic decoupling and subsequent recoupling has played a crucial role in the development of what is now the largest such industry in the Global South, this article explores how decoupling from GPNs may lead to positive development outcomes. The experience of India and the pharmaceutical industry shows that a sequence of decoupling and recoupling can be an alternative to strategic coupling as a route to economic development.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1117-1140
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Economic Geography
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Global production networks
  • decoupling
  • India
  • pharmaceuticals

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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