NY Times Economix Blog -- "Mr. Mobarak, a Bangladeshi who has advised his country’s government, found that the presence of apparel jobs in Bangladesh appears to bolster school enrollments of girls, especially for young girls (see chart above).
“A doubling of garment jobs causes a 6.71 percent increase in the probability that a 5-year-old girl is in school,” Mr. Mobarak writes in a summary of his findings.
For India, Bangladesh and other developing countries, these findings provide a reason for optimism. Governments in these places are struggling to improve the quality of infrastructure — hard (highways, ports, electricity) and soft (schools, courts, basic governance) – but private forces unleashed by nascent economic reforms and globalization are not standing idly by. They are already changing societies and economies."
MP: Thanks to Milton Recht for sending this along, and for pointing out that Wal-Mart should get some of the credit for this phenomenon by providing a market for all of the clothing produced in countries like Bangladesh.