NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Manufacturing Growth and the Lives of Bangladeshi Women

Rachel Heath, A. Mushfiq Mobarak

NBER Working Paper No. 20383
Issued in August 2014
NBER Program(s):   DEV   ITI   LS

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.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w20383

 
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