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Revisiting Labour and Gender Issues in Export Processing Zones: The Cases of South Korea, Bangladesh and India

Discussion Papers

No.174

by MURAYAMA Mayumi, YOKOTA Nobuko
October 2008

ABSTRACT

The establishment of Export Processing Zones (EPZs) is a strategy for economic development that was introduced almost fifty years ago and is nowadays employed in a large number of countries. While the number of EPZs including several variants such as Special Economic Zone (SEZs) has increased continuously, general interest in EPZs has declined over the years in contrast to earlier heated debates regarding the efficacy of the strategy and its welfare effects especially on women workers. This article re-evaluates the historical trajectories and outstanding labour and gender issues of EPZs on the basis of the experiences of South Korea, Bangladesh and India. The findings suggest the necessity of enlarging our analytical scope with regard to EPZs, which are inextricably connected with external employment structures, whether outside the EPZ but within the same country, or outside the EPZ and its host country altogether.


Keywords: Export Processing Zone (EPZ), Special Economic Zone (SEZ), labour, gender, South Korea, Bangladesh, India
JEL classification: F02, F16, J53

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