An Inquiry into the Rapid Growth of the Garment Industry in Bangladesh
The export-oriented garment industry in Bangladesh has grown rapidly for the last three 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 three decades. This paper 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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