Mr. Mobarak, a Bangladeshi who has advised his country's government, found that the presence of apparel jobs appears to bolster school enrollments of girls, especially for young girls.
"A doubling of garment jobs causes a 6.71 percent increase in the probability that a 5-year-old girl is in school," Mr. Mobarak writes in a summary of his findings.
To be sure, wages in Bangladesh's garment industry are among the lowest in the world. The minimum wage, which the government is expected to increase soon, is just 1,662 taka (about $23) a month. Labor groups are demanding a sharp increase and their protests and clashes with the police have periodically shut down factories in recent weeks.
Still hundreds of thousands of women flock to Dhaka and other garment hubs in Bangladesh every year because factories pay more than the women could earn in villages.
I hope that they do not succeed in raising the minimum wage. That would mean unemployment, a lot less jobs, and a lot less social mobility.