Globalization and Investments in Child Health and Family Planning: The Case of the Bangladesh Garment Industry

Gisella Kagy, University of Colorado at Boulder

This paper examines the impact of increased female employment in garment factories in Bangladesh, spurred on by globalization, on women's health, family planning decisions and health investments in children. Since women who choose to work in the manufacturing sector may be quite different in terms of unobserved characteristics from women who choose not to work in these sectors, I use an instrument that increases the probability of working in a skilled occupation, but does not affect family planning decisions or health investments directly. I instrument for whether a women is working in a skilled occupation with the number of garment factories located within a 15 km catchment area of her house. I show that women who currently work in skilled occupations, which are primarily manufacturing factory jobs, have significantly higher rates of modern contraception use and significantly heavier children as measured by weight-for-height z-scores.

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Presented in Session 50: Health and Mortality in Developing Countries