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An Inquiry into the Rapid Growth of the Garment Industry in Bangladesh

  • Khondoker Abdul Mottaleb
  • Tetsushi Sonobe

The export-oriented garment industry in Bangladesh has grown rapidly for the last 3 decades and now ranks among the largest garment exporters in the world. While its early success is attributed to the initial technology transfer from South Korea, such a one-time infusion of knowledge alone is insufficient to explain the sustained growth for 3 decades. This article uses primary data collected from knitwear manufacturers and garment traders to explore the process of the continuous learning of advanced skills and know-how. It finds, among other things, that the high profitability of garment manufacturing due to the initial infusion of specific human capital attracted a number of highly educated entrepreneurs to the industry, that the division of labor between manufacturers and traders has facilitated the expansion of the industry, and that enterprise growth has lasted long because of the continuous learning from abroad by the highly educated entrepreneurs.

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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/10.1086/661218
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File URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/full/10.1086/661218
Download Restriction: Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

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Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Economic Development and Cultural Change.

Volume (Year): 60 (2011)
Issue (Month): 1 ()
Pages: 67 - 89

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/661218
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  1. Marcel Fafchamps, 2004. "Market Institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa: Theory and Evidence," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262062364, June.
  2. Keijiro Otsuka, 2006. "Cluster-Based Industrial Development: A View From East Asia," The Japanese Economic Review, Japanese Economic Association, vol. 57(3), pages 361-376.
  3. Vu Hoang Nam & Tetsushi Sonobe & Keijiro Otsuka, 2010. "An Inquiry into the Development Process of Village Industries: The Case of a Knitwear Cluster in Northern Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 46(2), pages 312-330.
  4. Craig L Infanger, 1993. "The Agrarian Origins of Commerce and Industry, A Study of Peasant Marketing in Indonesia," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 35(2), pages 60-62, July.
  5. Nicholas Bloom & Christos Genakos & Raffaella Sadun & John Van Reenen, 2011. "Management Practices Across Firms and Countries," CEP Discussion Papers dp1109, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  6. Tetsushi Sonobe & John E. Akoten & Keijiro Otsuka, 2009. "An Exploration into the Successful Development of the Leather-Shoe Industry in Ethiopia," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 13(4), pages 719-736, November.
  7. William Easterly, 2002. "The Elusive Quest for Growth: Economists' Adventures and Misadventures in the Tropics," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550423, June.
  8. Tewari, Meenu, 1999. "Successful Adjustment in Indian Industry: the Case of Ludhiana's Woolen Knitwear Cluster," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(9), pages 1651-1671, September.
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