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Vietnam's Lesson for China: An Examination of the Sachs–Woo Hypothesis


  • Nazrul Islam

    () (International Center for the Study of East Asian Development (ICSEAD), 11-4 Otemachi, Kokurakita, Kitakyushu 803-0814, Japan.)


This paper examines the Sachs and Woo hypothesis that the experience of Vietnam's 1989 reforms shows that China would have grown faster had she followed the ‘big bang’ approach to reform instead of the gradual approach. The paper scrutinises this hypothesis from the viewpoint of accuracy of facts, appropriateness of characterisation, and acceptability of the hypothesis. The paper finds that Sachs and Woo fall short of meeting these criteria. The paper next examines the possible source of Sachs' and Woo's pitfalls and shows that the source lies in the authors’ subjective preference for the big bang approach to reform. Comparative Economic Studies (2008) 50, 111–157. doi:10.1057/palgrave.ces.8100238

Suggested Citation

  • Nazrul Islam, 2008. "Vietnam's Lesson for China: An Examination of the Sachs–Woo Hypothesis," Comparative Economic Studies, Palgrave Macmillan;Association for Comparative Economic Studies, vol. 50(1), pages 111-157, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:pal:compes:v:50:y:2008:i:1:p:111-157

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