Economic impacts of COVID-19 on workers and firms in Bangladesh's garment sector

Project Active from to COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is striking the global apparel value chain extremely hard from multiple directions. Apparel sectors in developing countries, which play critical roles in these countries’ industrialisation and economic growth, are arguably most vulnerable to this shock. In Bangladesh, where the apparel sector constitutes more than 80% of exports, the Bangladesh Garments Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA) reports that exports during the first 15 days of April 2020 were 84% lower than the corresponding period in 2019. In this context, we’ll conduct a phone-based survey of garment workers on COVID-19’s economic impacts.

The project aims to support an evidence-based policy dialogue in Bangladesh on COVID-19’s impacts on garment workers’ livelihoods. We’ll document the overall impacts on employment, income, consumption, health, and migration. We also ask about COVID-19 responses in their workplace (e.g. factory shutdowns, safety measures like masks and increased distance between workspaces, and late payment).

These data will identify the types of workers that suffered the most from the negative shock of COVID-19, who could thus be targeted in policy responses such as transfer payments. Our findings will support informed policymaking to support for vulnerable populations in the recovery process from COVID-19. We collaborate with the BRAC Institute for Governance and Development (BIGD) to effectively deliver the findings to relevant stakeholders.