In the field of economics, a vast literature has attributed the rise of global value chains to globalization-related forces such as declining costs of transportation, improvements in communications technology, and institutional and policy reforms in developing countries. Through an in-depth review of the industry transformation in the electronics industry, however, we find that an additional relatively unexplored factor is the modularization of electronics products. We analyze the mechanisms through which product modularization may lead to the rise of global value chains and discuss the implications for future research.

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