Exporting Sweatshops? Evidence from Myanmar

Mari Tanaka (Hitotsubashi University)

Abstract: I investigate the causal effect of exporting on working conditions and firm performance in Myanmar. This analysis draws on a new survey of manufacturing firms from 2013 to 2015. I use the rapid opening of Myanmar to foreign trade after 2011 alongside identification strategies that exploit product, geographic, and industry variations to obtain the causal estimates of the impact of trade. Exporting has large positive impacts on working conditions in terms of fire safety, healthcare management, freedom of negotiation, and wages. It also increases firm sales, employment, and management practices as well as the likelihood of receiving a labor audit.

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