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Welcome! I am an Assistant Professor in the Economics Division at Columbia Business School.

My research primarily focuses on working conditions, labor rights, and firm productivity in developing countries. I am especially interested in how the intersection of global supply chains with local institutions affect firms’ and workers’ outcomes and how labor market institutions affect economic development.

 

 

Curriculum Vitae (Link)

E-mail: l.boudreau@columbia.edu

Working Papers

Multinational enforcement of labor law: Experimental evidence from Bangladesh’s apparel sector

Media coverage: Review by ProMarketVoxDev Talks Interview (Podcast); The Daily Star (Bangladesh)
Policy briefs: International Growth Centre Blog Post; Jerome A. Chazen Institute for Global Business Research Brief; J-PAL Summary

Abstract: Western stakeholders are increasingly demanding that multinationals sourcing from developing countries be accountable for labor rights and working conditions upstream in their supply chains. In response, many multinationals privately enforce labor standards in these countries, but the effects of their interventions on local firms and workers are unknown. I partnered with a set of multinational retail and apparel firms to enforce local labor laws on their suppliers in Bangladesh. I implemented a randomized controlled trial with 84 Bangladeshi garment factories, randomly enforcing a mandate for worker-manager safety committees in 41 supplier establishments. The intervention significantly improves compliance with the labor law. It also has a positive effect on indicators of factory safety, including measures of physical safety and awareness. These improvements do not appear to come at significant costs to suppliers in terms of efficiency. Factories with better managerial practices drive these improvements. In contrast, factories with poor managerial practices do not improve compliance or safety, and in these factories, workers’ job satisfaction declines.

Migrants, information, and working conditions in Bangladeshi Garment Factories  – with Rachel Heath and Tyler McCormick

Abstract: A significant portion of the labor force in many large factories in developing countries consists of internal migrants from rural areas, who may have little information about the industry upon beginning work. We examine the relationship between workers’ migration status and the working conditions they face in the garment industry in Bangladesh. We use a retrospective panel of the wages and working conditions of 991 garment workers (matched to the factories they work in) collected in 2009. We document that migrants are in firms with higher wages but worse working conditions, but as their careers progress, they have higher mobility than locals as they move toward firms with better conditions. These facts are consistent with a model in which migrants are poorly informed about working conditions upon beginning work but learn more as they gain experience in the industry.

Workplace safety and employment decisions: Evidence from an information experiment with Bangladeshi garment workers

 

Work in Progress

Social Norms and Firm Productivity: Evidence from Bangladeshi Knitwear Factories (with Sakib Mahmood and Oren Reshef)

Whistleblowing Mechanisms for Employer Misbehavior: Evidence from the Bangladeshi Garments Sector (with Sylvain Chassang and Ada González-Torres)

Leadership and Organizational Structure in Trade Unions in Myanmar (with Rocco Macchiavello, Virginia Minni, and Mari Tanaka)

The Roles of Information and Search Frictions in Determining Working Conditions in Bangladesh’s Apparel Sector (with Narayan Das and Rachel Heath)