The political economy of private and public regulation in Post-Rana Plaza Bangladesh

Jennifer Bair, Mark Anner and Jeremy Blasi, 2020

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ILR Review

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Summary & key words

"How do public and private labor governance regimes intersect in global supply chains and with what effects? Based on fieldwork in Bangladesh, including interviews with garment industry stakeholders, this article examines the main public and private regulatory reforms instituted in post-Rana Plaza Bangladesh: the Sustainability Compact and the Bangladesh Accord, respectively. Despite the Accord’s substantial achievements in improving workplace safety, particularly relative to the progress achieved under the Compact, findings show that government and industry actors in Bangladesh have resisted the Accord’s efforts to empower workers for fear that improved labor standards would threaten managerial control over one of the global garment industry’s largest and cheapest labor forces. Rather than being an example of complementarity between private and public governance, or an effective substitution of one by the other, post- Rana Plaza Bangladesh represents an undermining of effective private regulation by a state opposed to pro-labor reforms."


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