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Manufacturing Growth and the Lives of Bangladeshi Women

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  • Rachel Heath
  • A. Mushfiq Mobarak

Abstract

We study the effects of explosive growth in the Bangladeshi ready-made garments industry on the lives on Bangladeshi women. We compare the marriage, childbearing, school enrollment and employment decisions of women who gain greater access to garment sector jobs to women living further away from factories, to years before the factories arrive close to some villages, and to the marriage and enrollment decisions of their male siblings. Girls exposed to the garment sector delay marriage and childbirth. This stems from (a) young girls becoming more likely to be enrolled in school after garment jobs (which reward literacy and numeracy) arrive, and (b) older girls becoming more likely to be employed outside the home in garment-proximate villages. The demand for education generated through manufacturing growth appears to have a much larger effect on female educational attainment compared to a large-scale government conditional cash transfer program to encourage female schooling.

Suggested Citation

  • Rachel Heath & A. Mushfiq Mobarak, 2014. "Manufacturing Growth and the Lives of Bangladeshi Women," NBER Working Papers 20383, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:20383
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    JEL classification:

    • F16 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Trade and Labor Market Interactions
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • J23 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Labor Demand
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development

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