Built on a multidisciplinary and multisectoral program, CatChain focuses on bridging different branches of literature since it considers the catching-up framework, the Global Value Chains (GVCs) literature and the role of Business Models (BMs) contextualising it in the framework of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Studies on catching-up tend to adopt a country perspective and highlight the factors that may favor technological progress in emerging economies. On the contrary, literature on GVCs focuses primarily on single firms, analyzing how they integrate in the Global Value Chain. Adopting the value chain approach, particular attention is given to Small and Medium Enterprises and to the opportunities and challenges of the global economy. Additionally, the reference frame of the Fourth Industrial Revolution provides the opportunity to analyse the interface between the GVC and the Innovation Systems (ISs). Precisely, it will allow the discussions of emerging issues such as: how the Fourth Industrial Revolution will change GVCs; which are the most effective modes of engaging with GVC in terms of building effective national ISs; how countries and firms should take advantage of this novel opportunity.

Linking the catching-up approach with the GVCs literature and paying particular attention to the role that entry, learning and upgrading strategies play in  the process of country-level catching-up, will allow the project to give robust answers as to whether a country should enter the global economy sponsoring one large national firm or a set of small entrepreneurial ventures. Furthermore, the integration of methods will enable an assessment of the key determinants of innovative capacity building and of the influence of the GVCs on various economic outcomes ranging from human capital formation and productivity to sustainability and poverty reduction.

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