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Was Vietnam's Economic Growth in the 1990s Pro-Poor? An Analysis of Panel Data from Vietnam


  • Paul Glewwe
  • Hai-Anh Hoang Dang


International aid agencies and almost all economists agree that economic growth is necessary for reducing poverty, yet some economists question whether it is sufficient for poverty reduction. Vietnam enjoyed rapid economic growth in the 1990s, but a modest increase in inequality during that decade raises the possibility that the poor in Vietnam benefited little from that growth. This article examines the extent to which Vietnam's economic growth has been "pro-poor," giving particular attention to two issues. The first is the appropriate comparison group. When comparing the poorest x% of the population at two points in time, should the poorest x% in the first time period be compared to the poorest x% in the second time period (some of whom were not the poorest x% in the first time period) or to the same people in the second time period (some of whom are no longer among the poorest x%)? The second is measurement error. Estimates of growth among the poorest x% of the population are likely to be biased if income or expenditure is measured with error. Household survey data show that Vietnam's growth has been relatively equally shared across poor and nonpoor groups. Indeed, comparisons of the same people over time indicate that per capita expenditures of the poor increased much more rapidly than those of the nonpoor, although failure to correct for measurement error exaggerates this result.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Glewwe & Hai-Anh Hoang Dang, 2011. "Was Vietnam's Economic Growth in the 1990s Pro-Poor? An Analysis of Panel Data from Vietnam," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(3), pages 583-608.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:ecdecc:doi:10.1086/658348

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Paul Glewwe & Nisha Agrawal & David Dollar, 2004. "Economic Growth, Poverty, and Household Welfare in Vietnam," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 15010.
    2. Bob Baulch & John Hoddinott, 2000. "Economic mobility and poverty dynamics in developing countries," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(6), pages 1-24.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F. & Swinkels,Robertus Antonius, 2014. "Who remained in poverty, who moved up, and who fell down ? an investigation of poverty dynamics in Senegal in the late 2000s," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7141, The World Bank.
    2. Bruno Arpino & Arnstein Aassve, 2014. "The role of villages in households’ poverty exit: evidence from a multilevel model for rural Vietnam," Quality & Quantity: International Journal of Methodology, Springer, vol. 48(4), pages 2175-2189, July.
    3. Dang,Hai-Anh H. & Lanjouw,Peter F., 2015. "Toward a new definition of shared prosperity: a dynamic perspective from three countries," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7294, The World Bank.
    4. Barbara Coello & Madior Fall & Akiko Suwa-Eisenmann, 2010. "Trade Liberalization And Poverty Dynamics in Vietnam 2002-2006," PSE - G-MOND WORKING PAPERS halshs-00966364, HAL.
    5. Hien Thu Tran & Enrico Santarelli, 2014. "Capital constraints and the performance of entrepreneurial firms in Vietnam," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 23(3), pages 827-864.

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