Does value chain participation facilitate the adoption of industry 4.0 technologies in developing countries?

Michele Delera, Carlo Pietrobelli, Elisa Calza & Alejandro Lavopa


The adoption of new technology is a key driver of firm performance and economic development. In this paper, we develop a framework for the firm-level analysis of the adoption of digital technology in developing economies. We investigate whether firms' participation to global value chains (GVCs) can facilitate the adoption of digital technologies. Using a novel database on the adoption of different generations of technology by manufacturing firms in Ghana, Vietnam, and Thailand, we document that the adoption of Industry 4.0 technologies remains extremely limited. We also find that firms' participation to GVCs is an important driver of digital technology adoption, and that adoption is positively associated with firm-level performance.

Keywords: GVCs, Industry 4.0, Technology adoption, Economic development, Capabilities

JEL Classification: O12, O14, O33