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Language, Mixed Communes, and Infrastructure: Sources of Inequality and Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam

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  • Nguyen, Hoa-Thi-Minh
  • Kompas, Tom
  • Breusch, Trevor
  • Ward, Michael B.

Abstract

This paper re-examines the sources of inequality in Vietnam, a transitional economy with large reductions in poverty from recent and dramatic economic growth, but vastly unequal gains across ethnic groups. Using a decomposition approach to disentangle factor endowments and returns by ethnic group, we draw four key conclusions. First, removing language barriers would significantly reduce inequality among ethnic groups, narrowing the ethnic gap, and especially so through enhancing the gains earned by minorities from education. Second, variations in returns to education exist in favor of the majority in mixed communes, suggesting that either the special needs of minority children have not been adequately addressed in the classroom, or unequal treatment in favor of the majority exists in the labor market. Third, in contrast to recent literature, there is no difference in the benefits drawn from enhanced infrastructure at the commune level across ethnic groups. Finally, we find little evidence to support the established views that the ethnic gap is attributed largely to differences in the returns to endowments. Overall, our research highlights the importance of considering language barriers and the availability of infrastructure for ethnic inequality.

Suggested Citation

  • Nguyen, Hoa-Thi-Minh & Kompas, Tom & Breusch, Trevor & Ward, Michael B., 2017. "Language, Mixed Communes, and Infrastructure: Sources of Inequality and Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 96(C), pages 145-162.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:wdevel:v:96:y:2017:i:c:p:145-162
    DOI: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2017.03.004
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    Cited by:

    1. Quynh Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 134, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    2. Trinh Thi, Huong & Simioni, Michel & Thomas-Agnan, Christine, 2018. "Decomposition of changes in the consumption of macronutrients in Vietnam between 2004 and 2014," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 31(C), pages 259-275.
    3. Hai-Anh H. Dang & Trung X. Hoang & Ha Nguyen, 2021. "The Long-Run and Gender-Equalizing Impacts of School Access: Evidence from the First Indochina War," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 70(1), pages 453-484.
    4. Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2021. "Language education and economic outcomes in a bilingual society," MPRA Paper 106119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    5. Vu Ha Thu & Daisaku Goto, 2020. "Does Microfinance Improve the Household Welfare of Ethnic Minorities? Evidence from Bac Kan Province, Vietnam," Progress in Development Studies, , vol. 20(1), pages 65-83, January.
    6. Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Viet Nam," Working Papers DT/2018/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    7. Tran Quang Tuyen, 2016. "Income sources and inequality among ethnic minorities in the Northwest region, Vietnam," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1239-1254, August.
    8. Hai-Anh H. Dang & Paul W. Glewwe, 2018. "Well Begun, but Aiming Higher: A Review of Vietnam’s Education Trends in the past 20 Years and Emerging Challenges," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(7), pages 1171-1195, July.
    9. Pham Van Ha & Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen & Tom Kompas & Tuong Nhu Che & Bui Trinh, 2015. "Rice Production, Trade and the Poor: Regional Effects of Rice Export Policy on Households in Vietnam," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 280-307, June.
    10. Quynh Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-134, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    11. Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen & Huong Do & Adrian Kay & Tom Kompas, 2020. "Rice policy in a transitional economy: balancing the social and political objectives," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 12(3), pages 549-566, June.
    12. Paul Glewwe & Qihui Chen & Bhagyashree Katare, 2015. "What Determines Learning among Kinh and Ethnic Minority Students in Vietnam? An Analysis of the Round 2 Young Lives Data," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 494-516, September.
    13. Phuc Phan & Martin O’Brien, 2019. "Multidimensional Wellbeing Inequality in a Developing Country: A Case Study of Vietnam," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 157-183, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic inequality; language; infrastructure; education; rural development; Vietnam;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General

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