Migrants, Information, and Working Conditions in Bangladeshi Garment Factories

Investigator: CDEP Affiliate Laura Boudreau, Rachel Heath, and Tyler H. McCormick

Many workers in large factories in developing countries are internal migrants from rural areas. We examine the relationship between workers’ migration status and the working conditions they face in a household survey of garment workers in Bangladesh. We document that migrants are in firms with higher wages but worse working conditions, but as their careers progress, they have higher mobility than locals as they move towards firms with better conditions. These facts are consistent with a model in which migrants are poorly informed about working conditions upon beginning work but learn more as they gain experience in the industry.

The project is part of CDEP’s Firms and Innovation Initiative.