Gateway Cities and their Hinterland: World Cities from the Global South as Nodes in Global Value Chains

Coordenadores/Principal Investigator: 

FAPESP e DFG (Alemanha)


During the last decades some parts of the Global South have realised a considerable economic rise. World cities there possess thriving and globally competitive secondary and tertiary sectors. They are the hinges between the periphery and the cores of the world-economy. We argue that the role of world cities from the Global South as hinges or ‘gateway cities’ results from the agglomeration of transnational companies, related industries and producer services, adequate institutions and transport infrastructure. These ideas are applied to the oil and gas sector in South America, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

We demonstrate that the role of gateway cities and especially their relationship with their hinterland can be captured by causal mechanisms based on conditions handily consolidated in the 2009 World Development Report: density, distance and division. Hence we will answer the following main question: How do density, distance and division (conditions) shape the global interlinking of the periphery of the world-economy (outcome) by gateway cities in the Global South? Our preliminary research indicates that three gateway cities, serving as hubs of the oil and gas sector, are suitable to test the relevance of the three Ds and identify related causal mechanisms in exploratory case studies: Cape Town, Rio de Janeiro and Singapore. In the course of this project, we seek to identify other hubs and shed more light on local economic development triggered by the oil and gas sector.

This project is innovative in four ways. First, by contextualising density, distance and division empirically and theoretically we react to the criticism of the World Development Report. We show the relevance of rather traditional causal factors for economic processes – factors that have been neglected by evolutionary and relational approaches in Economic Geography. Second, we link research on world cities and research on global value chains, advancing the inroads built in Derudder’s and Witlox’s Commodity Chains and World Cities. This way we overcome the disconnectedness of world cities from their hinterland and the poor embeddedness of global value chains. We also build tie-ins with research on location choices of transnational companies.

Third, we contribute to research on emerging economies, whose role as regional economic nodes and growth engines remains to be proven. We also advance a perspective on emerging economies that is not state-centric and hence more appropriate for processes that presently shape the world-economy. Fourth, addressing methodological weaknesses in research on world cities and global value chains, we make use of the web-based database ‘A Barrel Full’, the FDI Markets database from the Financial Times and the Zephyr database provided by the Bureau van Dijk in order to measure flows that originate in/pass through the world cities that we analyse. We furthermore apply a qualitative methodology that comes close to being intersubjectively verifiable: ‘fuzzy cognitive maps’.

Ano de Conclusão/Year of Conclusion: 
Em andamento/In Progress
Pesquisadores principais: 
Co-pesquisadores principais/Co-Principal Investigators: 
Javier Revilla Diez (University of Cologne, Germany), Sören Scholvin (University of Hanover, Germany),  Célio Hiratuka (University of Campinas, Brazil) e Maurício Aguiar Serra (University of Campinas, Brazil)
Co-pesquisadores associados/Co-Associated Researchers: 
<p>S&ouml;ren Scholvin, Mariane Fran&ccedil;oso, Moritz Breul, Patr&iacute;cia Mello, Adriano Borges and Paula Bastos</p>
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