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Welfare in Vietnam During the 1990s: Poverty, Inequality and Poverty Dynamics


Author Info

  • Patricia Justino

    (Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, Department of Economics, University of Sussex)

  • Julie Litchfield

    (Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, Department of Economics, Universtity of Sussex)


During the 1990s, Vietnam’s economy was transformed through a series of economic, social and political reforms, resulting in an average growth rate over the decade in excess of 6% per annum. This strong growth performance was accompanied by a dramatic fall in the incidence of consumption per capita poverty. This paper examines the changes in poverty and poverty dynamics over the 1990s using a nationally representative panel of households surveyed in 1992-93 and 1997-98. We analyse how robust the reduction in poverty is to the methods used to measure poverty. We find that regardless of where the poverty line is drawn, consumption poverty fell between 1992-93 and 1997-98, but that the extent of this fall is sensitive to the choice of poverty line. We also examine changes in the distribution of living standards over time, finding that the fall in poverty was accompanied by a rise in inequality, with some subgroups of the population failing to share equally in the strong growth of the country. Finally, we examine rural poverty dynamics, presenting transition matrices of movements in and out of poverty over time and estimating a model of consumption change. We find that regional differences are important, as are access to key institutions and infrastructure, and education. We also find that shifts in employment and production patterns, especially of rice, which we argue to be induced by the economic reform process, are strongly related to changes in living standards over time.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex in its series PRUS Working Papers with number 08.

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Length: 36 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:pru:wpaper:8

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Related research

Keywords: Poverty; growth; dominance; economic reform; Vietnam;

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  1. Francisco Rodriguez & Dani Rodrik, 2001. "Trade Policy and Economic Growth: A Skeptic's Guide to the Cross-National Evidence," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2000, Volume 15, pages 261-338 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Caterina Ruggeri Laderchi, . "The Monetary Approach to Poverty: A Survey of Concepts and Methods," QEH Working Papers qehwps58, Queen Elizabeth House, University of Oxford.
  3. repec:ese:iserwp:99-01 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Jamal, Vali & Jansen, Karel, 1998. "Agrarian transition in Viet Nam," ILO Working Papers 331513, International Labour Organization.
  5. David O’Connor, 1996. "Labour Market Aspects of State Enterprise Reform in Viet Nam," OECD Development Centre Working Papers 117, OECD Publishing.
  6. Stephen P. Jenkins, 2000. "Modelling household income dynamics," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 13(4), pages 529-567.
  7. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  8. L. Alan Winters, 2000. "Trade Liberalisation and Poverty," PRUS Working Papers 07, Poverty Research Unit at Sussex, University of Sussex.
  9. Minot, Nicholas & Goletti, Francesco, 2000. "Rice market liberalization and poverty in Viet Nam:," Research reports 114, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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Cited by:
  1. Thoburn, John, 2009. "Vietnam as a Role Model for Development," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. repec:hal:wpaper:halshs-00564858 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Bruno Arpino & Arnstein Aassve, 2008. "Estimating the causal effect of fertility on economic wellbeing: Data requirements, identifying assumptions and estimation methods," Working Papers 013, "Carlo F. Dondena" Centre for Research on Social Dynamics (DONDENA), Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi.
  4. repec:hal:journl:halshs-00429732 is not listed on IDEAS


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