Understanding workers’ knowledge of working conditions in Bangladeshi garment factories

Project Active from to Firms

The garment industry has revolutionised the lives of many people, particularly women, in Bangladesh.  Women have received greater educational investments and postponed marriage and childbearing, and achieved better autonomy household decision-making, the choice of spouse, and the choice to leave abusive marriages.  However, these workers can also face very tough working conditions which, in the extreme, result in the recent well-known tragedies such as the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013.

However, we still know very little about the extent to which working conditions vary between factories, and which workers end up in the factories with the worst working conditions.  This could particularly be a concern among recent migrants from rural areas, who know very little about factories upon beginning work in the industry, and may therefore be particularly vulnerable to unknowingly choosing to work in a dangerous place.  Information about the best way to help workers find safe firms with good working conditions will allow them to reap the benefits of firm growth while avoiding the worry that their workplace is unsafe.

This project uses data collected from a household survey collected by the researcher in 2009 to address questions of working conditions and more broadly, how workers sort into factories.