North Carolina

The Duke GVC Center’s work on North Carolina 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.


The Solar Economy: Widespread Benefits for North Carolina

North Carolina in the Global Economy

Lukas Brun gave a presentation on the NC in the Global Economy website at the World View Community College Symposium, held at the UNC Friday Center on November 12, 2014.

Brun gave a presentation on October 20, 2015 at the 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. The event was at NC State University in Raleigh, NC.

North Carolina’s Manufacturing Wage Gap

New NC in the Global Economy (NCGE) Features

Stacey Frederick gave this presentation at Duke. 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

GVCC was engaged by the High Point Market Authority to conduct an economic and fiscal impact of the High Point Market in High Point, NC. The Market, conducted biannually, 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

BedTimes article (October 11, 2013) and Duke Chronicle article October 29, 2013.
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.

Brun and Lester gave a presentation on the Economic Impact of the High Point Market on October 18, 2013 at the HP Market Press Breakfast on the results of the Duke economic and fiscal impact study of the High Point Market located in High Point, NC.

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.

Smart Grid: Core Firms in the Research Triangle Region, North Carolina

The Research Triangle is a smart grid hotspot, with specialized R&D centers, supportive government policies, and roughly 60 core firms whose capabilities stretch across the entire value chain. Research for this report was funded by NC State University’s Institute for Emerging Issues faculty fellows program, and prepared for the Research Triangle Regional Partnership.

Lowe gave a presentation on the report to the Research Triangle Clean Tech Cluster on April 8, 2011 in Durham, NC. She also presented for the NC Smart Grid Technical Forum, Charlotte, NC on May 1-2, 2012. She also presented “Smart Grid in the Research Triangle: the Who and the What” for the Triangle J Council of Governments Board of Delegates Meeting on September 28, 2011 in Durham, NC.

CleanTechnica published an article related to the report on March 14, 2012 entitled “Is North Carolina’s Research Triangle the Smart Grid’s Silicon Valley?”

Development of a Value Chain Research Approach and Application to the Textile Industry

Stacey Frederick completed her PhD at NC State University. Her dissertation Development and Application of a Value Chain Research Approach to Understand and Evaluate Internal and External Factors and Relationships Affecting the Economic Competitiveness in the Textile Value Chain, focused on developing a research approach for GVC analysis and applying it to the textile industry in North Carolina.