Manufacturing employment and women's agency: Evidence from Lesotho 2004-2014

45 Pages Posted: 26 Aug 2022

See all articles by Louise Grogan

Louise Grogan

University of Guelph - Department of Economics; IZA Institute of Labor Economics; Global Labor Organization (GLO); University of Central Asia (UCA)

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Date Written: August 18, 2022


This paper examines the impact of manufacturing employment on women's health and decision-making power within households in Lesotho. Under the US African Growth and Opportunity Act of 2000, the employment of women in ready-made garment (RMG) factories in new industrial zones greatly increased. Subsequent shocks to international demand for textile products created by the phase-out of the Multi-Fiber Agreement and the 2008 Financial Crisis temporarily reduced well-paid RMG work opportunities. Women residing closer to the industrial zones were particularly affected. These changes are exploited for identification of causal impacts. Employment in the RMG sector is found to substantially increase women's say in decisions about the allocation of household resources and own health.

Keywords: Lesotho, manufacturing, trade, Africa Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA), Demographic and Health Surveys, IPUMS census, World Bank Enterprise Surveys, Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS), female labour supply, contraceptives, fertility, autonomy

JEL Classification: J13, J12, P0, P13

Suggested Citation

Grogan, Louise A., Manufacturing employment and women's agency: Evidence from Lesotho 2004-2014 (August 18, 2022). Journal of Development Economics, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN:

Louise A. Grogan (Contact Author)

University of Guelph - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario N1G 2W1

IZA Institute of Labor Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072

Global Labor Organization (GLO) ( email )



University of Central Asia (UCA) ( email )

138 Toktogul Street
Bishkek, 720001


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