Call for papers

IX Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean network of researchers and policy makers on Services (REDLAS)

Services at the service of manufacturing and natural resource sectors

Barbados – 18 to 23 October 2020

  1. Background

Services are the main sector of the economy and employment in most developing countries. While they still account for a small share of total direct exports, services represent about half of total value-added in exports. Although this sector includes several modern activities, intensive in skilled labor, innovation and new technologies (such as finance and insurance, business services and telecommunications), other services are more traditional (such as tourism and transport). This first category plays a key role in the growth and diversification of production and exports of manufacturing and natural resource sectors, being key drivers of structural transformation of the economies.

As these issues have been little analysed, a Latin American and Caribbean network of researchers and policy makers on services (REDLAS) was established in 2010. This is a community of almost 500 researchers and professionals actively involved in the study and formulation of public policies on services. To date, REDLAS has held eight conferences: Brazil (2010), Chile (2012), Mexico (2014), Uruguay (2015), Brazil (2016), Costa Rica (2017), Argentina (2018) and Colombia (2019). The Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Foundation (KAS) is one of the main sponsors of the Network, while the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) is the coordinator. The network has facilitated the publication of several articles and books.


  1. Objectives

This ninth REDLAS conference aims to analyse how service inputs contribute to the competitiveness of manufacturing and natural resource sectors. Over the years, services have become as a source of value added in material exports. The following questions will be addressed at this conference:

  • What is the role of modern services in the goods sectors’ production and exports, as illustrated by both meso (multi-country input output tables), micro case studies and other approaches?
  • Which services are drivers of diversification and upgrading of production and exports?
  • How has digitalization and industry 4.0 changed the role of services in the goods industries so far and what are the anticipated impacts for the future? What are the opportunities of this for overcoming the region’s constraints of geography and size? What are the opportunities does it pose for the empowerment of the region’s vulnerable groups?
  • How has the region leveraged existing trade agreements to promote service exports/ to better position its services in the global value chain? Is there a focus on liberalization of trade in services in these agreements? – Recognizing the increasing reliance of the manufacturing sector on services, it’s no longer enough to just push for the liberalization of goods especially if the benefits of servicification of manufacturing are to be realized.
  • What is the impact of both national regulations and free trade agreements on the provision of modern services to goods exports sectors?
  • How do services contribute to specific sustainable development goals (SDGs) within the goods sectors, such as improving environmental and social sustainability and the role of women?
  • What public (and private) strategies and trade policies are countries following to increase the contribution of modern services to the goods sectors’ structural transformation and exports?
  • Compare firm and sectoral productivity levels and trends between services and rest of the economy: heterogeneity of firm productivity within sectors; distributions of firm size and productivity performance; within and between sector productivity performance, and contribution of productivity dispersion to explain aggregate trade performance.
  • Services data – What data is available on services production, inputs and intermediates, trade, innovation and employment? How can frameworks be developed for collecting services data? What are good practices in and outside the region?
  • What does servicification of manufacturing and agriculture look like in the Caribbean? How much gains from this servicification can be reaped by Caribbean countries? What role plays this sub-region in global value chains?
  • Can tourism in the Caribbean promote linkages with domestic modern services, which in turn may increase the competitiveness of agriculture and manufacturing in the subregion?
  1. Organization
    The REDLAS conference will take place during two days in Barbados in the week of 18 to 23 October 2020, when UNCTAD also celebrates its fifteenth quadrennial conference in the same place. The REDLAS conference combines several formats, such as a high-level session with policymakers, keynote presentations by leading scholars on these topics, sessions with experts and private sector representatives, a business segment and presentations of academic papers selected by a scientific committee following a broad call for papers.

The organizers of the meeting are Nanno Mulder ( and Sebastian Herreros ( from ECLAC and Kai-Ann Skeete of the University of the West Indies (

Abstracts should be sent before 15 June to A scientific committee will evaluate the papers and notify the authors by 1 July. Full papers need to be sent by 15 September. Proposals for whole sessions are also welcome.

The Konrad Adenauer Foundation sponsors hotel accommodation of the REDLAS participants, transportation between hotel and airport, and certain meals. Moreover, it will finance air travel of authors of the 5 highest ranked abstract proposals and paper submissions. The Barbados Coalition of Service Industries sponsors part of the business segment and a cultural activity at the end of the first day of the REDLAS.

Tue, 04/14/2020 - 15:18