North Carolina

The Duke GVC Center’s work on North Carolina has covered multiple topics from a variety of angles including contract research reports and teaching/advising through the NC in the Global Economy website and Bass Connections course.

The North Carolina in the Global Economy (NCGE) project covers a unique mix of industries – from textiles, furniture, and hog farming, to information technology and biotechnology – that each play a prominent role in North Carolina’s economy. The NCGE project sheds light on how global economic forces affect local development and employment in key traditional and growing industries in North Carolina, and where the state fits into the rapidly changing economies of the United States and the rest of the world. The NCGE website ( provides a value chain analysis of seven industries to understand key issues and trends, including industrial structure and its relation to the activities of industry and public actors, the impacts of globalization at the community level, and strategies to promote the positive effects of participation in global industries. Using a unique website format with innovative visualization tools, we show how North Carolina compares with other U.S. states and the rest of the world in terms of innovation, jobs, trade, and investment for seven of the state’s major industries.

Bass Connections is a Duke university-wide, interdisciplinary initiative focused on engaging students in the exploration of unanswered questions about major societal challenges. The Duke GVC Center participated in the Bass Connections program for three years by leading a course under the education and human development theme entitled “North Carolina in the Global Economy: the Workforce Development Challenge.” The course was co-led by Dr. Gary Gereffi and Lukas Brun with research and technical support from Stacey Frederick. The course was open to undergraduate students from all disciplines and years, although the majority were juniors in Public Policy or Economics majors pursuing the Markets and Management certificate. Each of the three years had a different focus area related to workforce development and competitiveness in North Carolina:

– 2013-2014: in the first year, students looked at the seven industries on the NC in the Global Economy website and assisted the Duke GVC Center in updating the content of the website.

– 2014-2015: in year two, students researched North Carolina’s position in the defense and aerospace sectors.

– 2015-2016: In the final year, students looked at North Carolina’s Appalachian Regional Commission’s counties in the automotive and beverage value chains.

The course objectives were to update and extend our knowledge of economic and workforce development challenges in North Carolina’s main and emerging industries. The course was a highly innovative, fast-paced interdisciplinary research collaboration between students, faculty and staff focused on developing practical research and team project skills, creating networking opportunities with professionals (guest lectures and networking), identifying summer research work opportunities, and creating outputs that matter to policymakers. Each year, two teams of 3-5 students created project plans and team charters, developed value chain maps of their industries, invited guest speakers from industry, government, community colleges and non-profits, and developed websites, reports, and academic articles summarizing their findings.

News Articles
– Duke Today article: May 5, 2014: The State’s Changing Economy: Bass Connections students’ research used by NC officials to better understand economy.
– Duke Office of Federal Relations: September 12, 2014: DC Briefing: North Carolina in the Global Economy. Staff from NC Congressional offices, representatives from Governor Pat McCrory’s Washington office, and individuals representing North Carolina-focused businesses gathered in a Capitol Hill meeting room on Friday morning to learn more about the NCGE project.


North Carolina in the Global Economy

Presentation to the 2015 Manufacturing Conference (mfgCON), which brought together industry, education, and government to discuss the challenges and opportunities of manufacturing in North Carolina. The presentation highlighted the Center’s sponsored research around the globe to address development issues, the North Carolina in the Global Economy website applying the analytic framework to major NC industries, and highlighted the furniture industry to provide an example of the type of analysis available on the website.

Quantifying the Value of Place-based Exchange within a Global Production Network

The household furniture industry in central North Carolina provided a critical manufacturing base for the American South in the early twentieth century and ultimately encompassed a network of firms throughout the Southeastern United States. At its zenith in the 1980’s, the household furniture industry employed over 90,000 workers in North Carolina.

The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina

North Carolina in the Global Economy

Lukas Brun gave this presentation on the NC in the GLobal Economy website at the World View Community College Symposium, held at the UNC Friday Center.

North Carolina’s Manufacturing Wage Gap

New NC in the Global Economy (NCGE) Features

Stacey Frederick gave this presentation at Duke CGGC. It provides an overview of the new features on the 2014 version of the NC in the Global Economy website.

Nicaragua and the Apparel Value Chain in the Americas: Implications for Regional Trade and Employment

The textile and apparel value chain has changed rapidly in the past decade. In the context of trade liberalization and the phase-out of the global quota regime, textile and garment production has become more concentrated in a smaller set of countries, with Asian exporters such as China, Bangladesh and Vietnam claiming an increasing share of the world import market. At the same time, preferential trade agreements have become more important in maintaining textile and apparel production in the western hemisphere. With the looming expiration of the Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) granted to Nicaragua under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), trade policy is at a critical juncture. This report explores these issues by examining how textile and apparel manufacturers in the Americas are linked to the value chains coordinated by U.S. importers. Our key finding is that all segments of the textile and apparel value chain in the Americas—U.S. yarn and fabric manufacturers as well as apparel producers in the CAFTA region—benefit from measures, such as the TPL one-to-one benefit, that encourage importers to maintain or expand their sourcing in the western hemisphere.

The Economic Impact of the High Point Market

Duke was engaged by the High Point Market Authority (HPMA) to conduct an economic and fiscal impact of the High Point Market in High Point, NC. The Market, conducted bi-annually, is the largest home furnishings market in the world and attracts over 75,000 visitors each session who descend on High Point and its environs to buy, sell and market a wide variety of furniture, accessories, and design services. Beyond attracting a large number of visitors from outside the state, the Market serves a critical function for the broader furnishings industry and is a key node in the overall furniture industry’s value chain. It is widely known by local stakeholders that a large portion of the sales contacts and transactions for local manufacturing companies are initiated and negotiated at the Market.
News Articles
HPMA’s board of directors awarded a contract to study the trade show’s economic impact and measure it against domestic and international furniture shows, the Winston-Salem Journal reports.
BedTimes article from October 11, 2013 and Duke Chronicle article October 29, 2013 linked below.
– How North Carolina’s bathroom law sparked a business backlash: April 28, 2016: PBS Newshour on the impact of HB2 on the furniture market in North Carolina.
-Casual Living, October 2, 2013: High Point Market contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact to the overall regional economy, more than 37,000 jobs and $198 million in NC local and state taxes and fees.

The Furniture Value Chain in North Carolina

This research was sponsored by the High Point Market Authority (HPMA). The report provides an introduction to the furniture global value chain including an overview and map of the key segments with industrial classification codes and lead firms. The second half describes North Carolina’s footprint in this industry using industrial and trade statistics and provides key findings and strategic considerations for the future of the industry. Furniture Today article from November 25, 2013: High Point economic impact mostly from furniture sales.