WP5: Social & economic dynamics

WP5: Social and economic dynamics

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Co-ordinator: The WorldFish Center (WFC)


  1. The configuration of global value chains (GVCs) examined for aquatic products, their governance structures and upgrading possibilities. Assess the entry barriers, structure of rewards and demands on quality and logistics that arise for actors described at different levels.
  2. Contributions delivered to the analysis of social, environmental and food safety/quality management standards that are required (or are likely to be developed in the near future) in aquatic products’ value chains and inputs provided for the implementation of an EAFI (WP8).
  3. Contributions delivered towards integration of socio-economic dimensions for the expert community i.e. code of practice and longer-term methodological standardisation (LCA-activity in WP2).

Description of work and role of participants

Key systems will be prioritised for detailed case studies contingent on WP2 outcomes and considering current and prospective trade volumes and coverage of key sustainability issues. The findings will be validated against remaining systems in the species/country matrix. Case study will focus on livelihood impact and vulnerability assessment for different stakeholders; access to GVCs by small and medium-scale producers, their economic performance and the sustainability of the enterprises; preferences for seafood in European (retail) markets; assessment of relative comparative advantages/opportunity costs as driver of inter-regional trade; and the influence of product / process standards on trade. Specific research tasks are:

T5.1 Description of GVCs for species/country systems from point-of-production in Asian countries – covering various channel intermediaries – to major consumer markets in Europe. Analysis of major European markets using in-depth interviews with key channel actors spanning the chain and respective interest groups for selected seafood products, based on a strategic sample of regional European markets incorporating key consumer and institutional configurations. Assessment of market dynamics e.g. form and dominance of processing, wholesale and retail outlets, concentration and capitalization of the industry at various nodes. Outputs to be incorporated in the WP2 SoS reports and T8.5 (preliminary awareness raising).

T5.2 Review of existing LCA/ socio-economic integration initiatives: Evaluation of potentials and constraints to integration of socio-economic aspects into LCA (WP3). Findings will contribute to evidence-base for EAFI (WP8).

T5.3 Livelihoods analysis: Building on key livelihood issues identified in WP2, conduct detailed livelihoods case-studies with focus on vulnerability/ resilience implications of GVCs. Methods include systematic household/producer surveys and PRA/systems techniques designed to assess micro-level impacts of macro-trends and associated coping strategies. The efficiency of production will be determined using stochastic frontier analysis and findings will be used to assess potentials for strengthening livelihood resilience of medium and small-scale value chain actors. Particular effort will be placed on analysing the comparative advantage of Asian producers and their future performance based on a number of different scenarios (including e.g. increasing globalization, food price changes, climate change) to determine the sustainability of the operations.

T5.4 Market institutional analysis: review of secondary data/ producer surveys to assess how different institutional configurations impact on producers, processors, channel intermediaries and retailers operating at different economic scales. Incorporating analysis of benefit shares and profitability along GVCs; examination of risks involved and (hidden) entry barriers for certain types of producers and capacities, knowledge and skills required to engage in the identified GVCs.

T5.5 Clarification of public interest and equity outcomes as a result of market failures e.g. externalities, imperfect competition, transaction costs, agency problems, and underlying property rights issues (i.e. excludability and transferability – including land and water resources). This activity will have close linkage with WP10 (information asymmetries as factors hindering / assisting market entry).

T5.6 Evaluation of aquaculture industry dynamics, opportunities and threats to MSME’s in Asia and Europe. Including. horizontal effects such as clustering of allied production and processing operations as ‘hot spots’; evaluation of formal/ informal linkages (e.g. knowledge & innovation, labour skills, technology, shared production and value chains), developmental stage (existing, emerging, potential). Secondary review and in-depth interviews with key channel actors spanning the chain and respective interest groups.

T5.7 Life Cycle Costing (LCC) of key aquatic systems. LCC uses the same methodological basis as the LCA (WP3) and thus provides a consistent framework for the analysis of social and economic factors influencing the production of aquatic products. The tool will incorporate all internal and external costs incurred throughout the entire life cycle. This will complement the livelihood analysis by pointing out areas for possible cost savings and increased efficiency.We will attempt to systemically integrate LCC methods into GVC analysis in all case studies.

T5.8 Validation of case study findings against the remaining fields of the species/country matrix 
(Fig. 1) and synthesis of the major results of the different in-depth case studies.


D 5.1 (month 9) Review of GVCs for relevant aquatic products and of LCA/LCC methods

D 5.2 (month 9) Interim report on common methodology and data collection needs for the GVC case studies based on the integration of GVC and LCA/LCC

D 5.3 (month 27) Working papers on livelihood analysis, GVC, EU market studies

D 5.4 (month 30) Synthesis report/paper from the case studies

D 5.5 (month 32) Working paper on institutional arrangements and equity implications

D 5.6 (month 36) Dissemination workshop(s) for GVC and institutional findings (collaboration with INFOFISH and Seafood Choices Alliance)

D 5.7 I(month 48) Information/policy briefs presenting major research findings

Photo © Loni Hensler