Islands of Globalisation: Offshore Services and the Rise of New Special Economic Zones in Metro Manila

September 9, 2014 @ 1:30 pm – 3:30 pm
Room 830, Eighth Floor, Kaneff Tower
York University
4700 Keele St, Toronto, ON M3J 1P3

KleibertThe changing international division of labour presents opportunities for developing countries to attract foreign investments and generate employment in the offshore service sector. This lecture analyses developments in the Philippines, which has become a large exporter of business process outsourcing services over the past decade. The sector employs close to 800,000 highly-educated young workers, the majority of whom work night shifts in call centres. Where do offshore service investments occur in the Philippines, which spatial transformation occurs as a result, and why? The location of offshore service investments on a national and regional level are mapped and the genesis of a new type of special economic zones (SEZs) are traced, which combine functions of service delivery for global markets with increasingly globalised consumption patterns. These new SEZs arise due to location choice factors of foreign investors in services offshoring, who require skilled labour and prefer urban, modern and secure environments, modelled on their home country. Changing government policies on spatial zoning have facilitated the rise of these new SEZs in central business districts in Metro Manila and existing powerful real estate developers have not only enabled this development, they have been also the primary local beneficiaries of contemporary globalisation.

Jana Kleibert is a researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam. Her research focuses on contemporary globalisation and economic development in the global South, especially in the Philippines.

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