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Governing Growth

Daniel M. Sabet and Afsana Tazreen
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Daniel M. Sabet: Senior Impact Evaluation Advisor, Social Impact, USA.
Afsana Tazreen: Scholar, Ruprecht-Karls-UniversitätHeidelberg, Germany.

Journal of South Asian Development, 2015, vol. 10, issue 1, 1-21

Abstract: On 24 April 2013, Rana Plaza, a nine-storey building that housed five garment factories, a commercial bank and several retail shops, collapsed, killing more than 1,100 people. Had Bangladesh’s well-regarded building code been enforced, the tragedy would never have occurred. Through an exploration of the process by which real estate development projects are approved and building construction overseen, this article attempts to provide an explanation for why there is such a wide gap between formal policy and actual implementation. Following such tragic events, elected officials come under considerable pressure from civil society groups and citizens to pass stronger legislation, and Bangladesh’s political system, which concentrates power in the majority party and that party’s leadership, allows for the relatively easy passage of legislation. Nonetheless, dramatic population growth and limited availability of land create powerful incentives for developers to evade these regulations. Collusion between developers, the regulator and high-level government officials responsible for overseeing the regulator has ensured that both the laws and court orders are unenforced.

Keywords: Governance; real estate; Bangladesh; construction; regulation; corruption; Rana Plaza (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2015
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