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Service economy integration in Latin America and the Caribbean– international connection and value chain upgrading

Authors: Andrew Jones*, City, University of London, Patrik Strom, University of Gothenburg
Topics: Economic Geography
Keywords: economic geography, service industries, value chains, emerging economies, Latin America, Caribbean
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Across the globe, the increasing growth and dominance of service industries has continued in both mature and emerging economies. Furthermore, historic narratives around economic development for many emerging economies have shifted towards a service industry-led focus as their domestic industries strengthen and service industries become ever more globalized. New technologies of automation associated with Industry 4.0 are creating a wave of disruption in many service industries, the profound implications of which for the nature of service sector activity are only just beginning to be understood. And whilst service industries have globalized, in the last decade wider globalization processes have become increasingly contested. As services will become an even larger part of the industrialized countries’ economies and labour market, it is important for emerging economies to position their economies in such a way that they can utilize current strengths on the global market place, but more importantly, develop a stronger service economy platform for the future (Muller et al, 2014). This paper presents initial findings of research into the strategies, barriers and challenges faced by Latin American and East Caribbean states in upgrading their service economies, especially in the face of dramatic technological challenges in 'high order' professional and business services. It argues that whilst higher value services are an attractive and feasible route to successful economic development policy strategies need to be refined and refocused in these emerging economies in order for this approach to succeed.

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