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Pro-poor growth, poverty and inequality in rural Vietnam


  • Kang, Woojin
  • Imai, Katsushi S.


This study explores the effects of Vietnam's transition on the welfare of different ethnic groups in rural Vietnam. It draws on three rounds of national household surveys in 2002, 2004 and 2006. It is first observed that the pace of poverty reduction for minorities surpassed the majority over the period 2002–2006, although poor people were still concentrated in the minority groups throughout the period. Secondly, the disparity in living standards has been widening. In particular, inequality within both the majority and minority groups increased over the period. Thirdly, the study shows that the effect of economic growth on poverty is estimated to have been greater if inequality remained constant. It is also noted that the impacts of economic growth on poverty vary across different ethnic groups. Finally, regression decompositions of within inequality have confirmed that the main driver of inequality is not the same among ethnic groups. Given the diversity across different ethnic groups, we can conclude that government policy aimed at equal access to infrastructure and more equal distribution of assets, such as land, for ethnic minority groups would lead to more equal distribution of consumption and poverty reduction of those groups. Also, consideration of local needs would be necessary in designing and implementing public policies, given the heterogeneous socio-economic circumstances surrounding each ethnic minority group.

Suggested Citation

  • Kang, Woojin & Imai, Katsushi S., 2012. "Pro-poor growth, poverty and inequality in rural Vietnam," Journal of Asian Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(5), pages 527-539.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:asieco:v:23:y:2012:i:5:p:527-539 DOI: 10.1016/j.asieco.2012.04.004

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Nanak Kakwani & Shahid Khandker & Hyun H. Son, 2004. "Pro-poor growth: concepts and measurement with country case studies," Working Papers 1, International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth.
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    8. Fafchamps, Marcel & Lund, Susan, 2003. "Risk-sharing networks in rural Philippines," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 71(2), pages 261-287, August.
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    15. Amy Liu, 2004. "Sectoral gender wage gap in Vietnam," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(2), pages 225-239.
    16. Katsushi Imai & Raghav Gaiha & Woojin Kang, 2011. "Poverty, inequality and ethnic minorities in Vietnam," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 25(3), pages 249-282.
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    19. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tuan M. Ha & Ockie J. H. Bosch & Nam C. Nguyen, 2016. "Establishing an Evolutionary Learning Laboratory for Improving the Quality of Life of Vietnamese Women in Small-scale Agriculture: Part II – Systemic Interventions," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(3), pages 341-359, May.
    2. Quang Tran, Tuyen & Hong Nguyen, Son & Van Vu, Huong & Quoc Nguyen, Viet, 2014. "Determinants of poverty among ethnic minorities in the Northwest region, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 59144, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Oct 2014.
    3. Katsushi S. Imai & Bilal Malaeb, 2016. "Asia's Rural-urban Disparity in the Context of Growing Inequality," Discussion Paper Series DP2016-29, Research Institute for Economics & Business Administration, Kobe University.
    4. Tuan M. Ha & Ockie J. H. Bosch & Nam C. Nguyen, 2016. "Establishing an Evolutionary Learning Laboratory for Improving the Quality of Life of Vietnamese Women in Small-scale Agriculture: Part I—The Current Situation," Systems Research and Behavioral Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 532-543, July.
    5. Domenico Rossignoli, 2015. "Too many and too much? Special-interest groups and inequality at the turn of the century," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 130(3), pages 337-366.
    6. Adeniran, Adedeji & Uneze, Eberechukwu, 2015. "Explaining Sectoral and Spatial Variations in Growth Pro-poorness in Nigeria," MPRA Paper 82406, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Vietnam; Ethnic minority; Growth; Poverty; Inequality; Decomposition;

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty


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