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The Gender Implications of Public Sector Downsizing: The Reform Program of Vietnam

  • MartÌn Rama

Using data from Vietnam, this article describes several types of analysis that could be conducted before launching a major downsizing operation to identify possible gender effects. It draws several conclusions about Vietnam's downsizing reforms. First, although women's prospects of obtaining salaried jobs following displacement from state-owned enterprise worsened as a result of recent reforms, they are likely to improve in the near future. Second, reforms are associated with a sharp decline in the gender gap in earnings, both in and outside the state sector. Third, overstaffing is greatest in sectors in which most employees are men, such as construction, mining, and transportation; it is much less prevalent in sectors in which women dominate the work force, such as footwear, textiles, and garments. Fourth, training and assistance programs currently in place to help redundant workers reveal no evidence of strong gender bias. Fifth, severance packages based on a multiple of earnings are more favorable to men, whereas lump-sum packages favor women. Copyright 2002, Oxford University Press.

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Article provided by World Bank Group in its journal The World Bank Research Observer.

Volume (Year): 17 (2002)
Issue (Month): 2 (September)
Pages: 167-189

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Handle: RePEc:oup:wbrobs:v:17:y:2002:i:2:p:167-189
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  1. Simon Appleton, 1996. "The gender wage gap in three African countries," Economics Series Working Papers WPS/1996-07, University of Oxford, Department of Economics.
  2. Ariel Fiszbein, 1994. "An opportunity cost approach to redundancy compensation: an application to Sri Lanka," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 21(esp Year ), pages 113-126, November.
  3. Assaad, Ragui, 1999. "Matching Severance Payments with Worker Losses in the Egyptian Public Sector," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 117-53, January.
  4. Belser, Patrick & Rama, Martin, 2001. "State ownership and labor redundancy - estimates based on enterprise-level data from Vietnam," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2599, The World Bank.
  5. Rama, Martin & MacIsaac, Donna, 1999. "Earnings and Welfare after Downsizing: Central Bank Employees in Ecuador," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 89-116, January.
  6. Rama, Martin, 1999. "Public Sector Downsizing: An Introduction," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 13(1), pages 1-22, January.
  7. Belser, Patrick, 2000. "Vietnam - on the road to labor-intensive growth ?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2389, The World Bank.
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