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John Sutton

John Sutton

John Sutton is the Sir John Hicks Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics. He has been a Visiting Associate Professor at Tokyo University, a Marvin Bower Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and a Visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University, and at the Graduate School of Business, University of Chicago. His books include Sunk Costs and Market Structure (MIT Press, 1981), Technology and Market Structure (MIT Press, 1998), Marshall's Tendencies: What Can Economists Know? (MIT and Leuven University Press, 2000) and Competing in Capabilities: The Globalization Process (Oxford University Press, 2012). He has been a consultant for the World Bank since 2000, and served on the Advisory Committee on Access to the Japanese Market (Tokyo) from 1995 to 2002. He served as a member of the Group of Economic Advisors to the President of the European Union from 2001-2004, and of the Enterprise Strategy Group (Ireland), which reported in 2004.  He is a Fellow of the Econometric Society, and of the British Academy, and was  President of the Royal Economic Society from 2004 to 2007.


John Sutton's Enterprise Map Project aims at providing a detailed profile of industries and of leading industrial companies in each of several countries in sub-Saharan Africa. The first four volumes on Ethiopia, Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia are now available:

You may download An Enterprise Map Of Ethiopia (Sutton and Kellow), free of charge, in Adobe PDF format.
For the Chinese version please click here
Please click here for An Enterprise Map Of Ghana (Sutton and Kpentey) Click here for An Enterprise Map of Tanzania (Sutton and Olomi) and here for An Enterprise Map of Zambia (Sutton and Langmead)

NEW RELEASE: An Enterprise Map of Mozambique. For the portuguese version please click here.

The Enterprise Map books are published by the International Growth Centre in association with the London Publishing Partnership. The hard copy version is available from Central Books ,see This project is supported by the International Growth Centre , which is directed from hubs at the London School of Economics and the University of Oxford. The IGC was initiated and is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID).

To see a video introducing the series click here


This book offers a new perspective on the economics of globalization, based on the concepts of firms’ capabilities as the immediate cause of countries’ wealth. It presents new ways of looking at the way China, India, and Africa have been drawn into the global economy over the past two decades. It offers new perspectives on some of the most central questions in the current debate: What effects does the rise of China have for the advanced industrial economies? Why have some industries adapted quickly and effectively to the changing global scene, while others have not? How were the ‘Transition Economies’ of Eastern Europe affected by trade liberalization? How have the economic prospects of sub-Saharan African countries changed over the past decade? This analysis contributes to the recent literature on quality and trade, which is providing a new and different approach to the analysis of globalization, and which focuses on those economic mechanisms that are central to the current wave of this centuries-old phenomenon.

To read a sample of this book click here


The Enterprise Map Project


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Competing in Capabilities


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Selected Publications

'Industrial Organization', in China's Great Economic Transformation, Loren Brandt and Tom Rawski (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2008.

Quality, Trade and the “Moving Window”: the Globalization Process
This paper analyses the globalization process by reference to a model in which firms and countries differ both in productivity and quality.  The model implies that there is a lower bound to quality below which firms cannot sell, however low the (local) wage rate they face.  The range of quality levels between the maximum level and this lower bound shifts upwards when trade is liberalized (the 'moving window').  The initial ('impact') effect of globalization, i.e., that associated with trade liberalization, in an initially segmented (but not autarkic) world economy may well reduce welfare in countries with intermediate levels of capability , but these countries stand to be the most important gainers as capabilities are transferred across countries in subsequent phases of the globalization process.

Market Share Dynamics and the 'Persistence of Leadership' Debate
This paper sets out an analytical framework which can be used to examine the evolution of market shares and to address debates regarding the "persistence of dominance"  question.  The method is applied to a study of 45 Japanese manufacturing industries over a 25-year period. (Now published, American Economic Review, March 2007 and the published version can be accessed via

Market Structure - Theory and Evidence 
This paper surveys the recent literature on the determinants of Market Structure, with particular reference to the Bounds approach.  It appears in Volume 3 of the Handbook of Industrial Organisation, edited by Robert Porter and Mark Armstrong.

The Auto-Component Supply Chain in China and India: a benchmarking study
This report offers an assessment of the current state of the auto-component supply chain in China and India.  It is based on a large-scale programme of plant studies, in both countries.

The Indian Machine-Tool Industry A Benchmarking Study 
This report sets out some benchmarking results on productivity and quality for CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine tools produced by leading Indian manufacturers. The study was carried out by Professor J. Sutton of the London School of Economics, with the assistance of Mr. G. Doshi, on behalf of the World Bank, during the period December 1999 to August 2000.




This page was last updated on 18/03/2015
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