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Harris Public Policy Professor Chris Blattman and University of Oxford Professor of Economic Policy Stefan Dercon penned a recent op-ed in The New York Times on the economics of sweatshop workers. 

Blattman and Dercon went to Ethiopia to test the claim that sweatshops are “escalators out of poverty”. Working with the nonprofit Innovations for Poverty Action and the thinktank Ethiopian Development Research Institute, they conducted the first randomized trial of industrialized employment on workers. Ethiopia ended up surprising the experts: "Contrary to the expert predictions (and ours), quitting was a wise decision for most. The alternatives were not so bad after all: People who worked in agriculture or market selling earned about as much money as they could have at the factory, often with fewer hours and better conditions. We were amazed: By the end of a year only a third of the people who had landed an industrial job were still employed in the industrial sector at all."

Click here to read more about their research, and why they were proven wrong!