Grantees

Whistleblowing and Worker Well-being: Evidence from Bangladesh's Garments Sector

Project Summary: 

This grant was awarded through E4A’s special Call for Proposals: Approaches to Advance Gender Equity From Around the Globe. The investigators are conducting a cluster randomized control trial to study an innovation to an independent grievance reporting and resolute system (the Helpline) – the incorporation of a reporting escrow. The researchers will randomly assign garment factories in Bangladesh to: 1) the Helpline’s status quo system or 2) to the Helpline’s status quo system plus a reporting escrow. The researchers also aim to vary the design of the reporting escrow across factories. The researchers are evaluating the escrow’s effects on reporting of labor issues, including sexual harassment, and on workers’ mental well-being, as well as its effects on factories’ internal capacity to resolve issues and on worker absenteeism. The team will also explore whether the reporting escrow changes perceived social norms and acceptability of different behaviors on workers, and in the longer term, reduces the actual incidence of labor issues. Evidence from this study could substantially improve the design of reporting escrow systems and increase the probability of take-up and success in the U.S.

Outcomes:

The researchers will examine two sets of primary outcomes. For workers, they will test for effects on reports to the Helpline; reports through internal channels; and mental well-being. For factories, they will test for effects on HR management capacity and on worker absenteeism. In addition, as secondary outcomes for workers, they are interested in measuring a change in perceived social norms and acceptability of different behaviors, and for factories, they are interested in measuring the actual incidence of labor issues in the long run.

Methodology:

The researchers are using a cluster randomized control trial design, randomly assigning treatment status at the factory level in Bangladesh. Mobile phone-based surveys are being used at baseline and administered five times over the course of 12 months with factory workers, followed by an in-depth, endline phone survey.

International Partner Organization: 
Principal Investigators: 

Laura Boudreau, MSc, PhD

Sylvain Chassang, MA, PhD

Ada González-Torres, MSc, PhD

Grant Start Date: 
January 2021
Award Amount & Duration: 

$225,484 & 24 months

Stage of Adaptation: 

Impact assessment in home country

Country of Origin: 

Bangladesh

Translatable to: 

Workers across many industries, in all U.S. states