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Trust and Search in Vietnam's Emerging Private Sector


  • Haggard, Stephan
  • McMillan, John
  • Woodruff, Christopher


This paper investigates how start-up firms in Vietnam operate in the face of two significant market frictions: a poorly developed legal system and inadequate market information. We argue that these two market frictions actually offset each other. Poor market information and the consequent difficulty of locating trading partners can help make self-enforcing contracts workable. Firms that have nowhere else to go will refrain from breaking their agreements. If it is difficult to locate alternative trading partners, firms will invest in maintaining their existing relationships. Our empirical analysis is consistent with this hypothesis.

Suggested Citation

  • Haggard, Stephan & McMillan, John & Woodruff, Christopher, 1996. "Trust and Search in Vietnam's Emerging Private Sector," CEPR Discussion Papers 1506, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:1506

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rose, Andrew K. & Svensson, Lars E. O., 1994. "European exchange rate credibility before the fall," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 1185-1216, June.
    2. de Jong, F, 1994. "A Univariate Analysis of EMS Exchange Rates Using a Target Zone Model," Journal of Applied Econometrics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 9(1), pages 31-45, Jan.-Marc.
    3. Dominquez, Kathryn M. & Kenen, Peter B., 1992. "Intramarginal intervention in the EMS and the target-zone model of exchange-rate behavior," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 36(8), pages 1523-1532, December.
    4. Bertola, Giuseppe & Caballero, Ricardo J, 1992. "Target Zones and Realignments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 520-536, June.
    5. Weber, Axel A, 1994. "Foreign Exchange Intervention and International Policy Coordination: Comparing the G-3 and EMS Experience," CEPR Discussion Papers 1038, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    6. Bekaert, Geert & Gray, Stephen F., 1998. "Target zones and exchange rates:: An empirical investigation," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 45(1), pages 1-35, June.
    7. Meese, Richard A. & Rogoff, Kenneth, 1983. "Empirical exchange rate models of the seventies : Do they fit out of sample?," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1-2), pages 3-24, February.
    8. Lars E. O. Svensson, 1992. "An Interpretation of Recent Research on Exchange Rate Target Zones," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 6(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
    9. Dumas, Bernard, 1992. "Dynamic Equilibrium and the Real Exchange Rate in a Spatially Separated World," Review of Financial Studies, Society for Financial Studies, vol. 5(2), pages 153-180.
    10. Lindberg, Hans & Soderlind, Paul, 1994. " Intervention Policy and Mean Reversion in Exchange Rate Target Zones: The Swedish Case," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 96(4), pages 499-513.
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    Cited by:

    1. Luc Moers, 2000. "Determinants of Enterprise Restructuring in Transition: Description of a Survey in Russian Industry," Post-Communist Economies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 12(3), pages 307-335.
    2. Bruce Benson, 1999. "To Arbitrate or To Litigate: That Is the Question," European Journal of Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 8(2), pages 91-151, September.
    3. Jeffrey B. Miller & Stoyan Tenev, 2005. "State and Ownership Reforms in Transition Economics: China vs. the Orthodoxy," Working Papers 05-10, University of Delaware, Department of Economics.
    4. Gow, Hamish R. & Swinnen, Johan F.M., 2002. "Investment, and Contract Hold-Ups in Transition: Evidence from Hungary," 2002 International Congress, August 28-31, 2002, Zaragoza, Spain 24853, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    5. Simon Johnson & John McMillan & Christopher Woodruff, 1999. "Contract Enforcement in Transition," CESifo Working Paper Series 211, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item


    Contracting; Search; Transition; Vietnam;

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • P21 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Planning, Coordination, and Reform


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