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Segmentation and informality in Vietnam: A Survey of Literature


  • Jean-Pierre Cling

    () (CEPN, Université Paris Nord-CNRS, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine, LEDa, IRD UMR DIAL)

  • Mireille Razafindrakoto

    () (IRD, UMR DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)

  • François Roubaud

    () (IRD, UMR DIAL, PSL, Université Paris-Dauphine)


(english) Labour market segmentation is usually defined as the division of the labour markets into separate submarkets or segments, distinguished by different characteristics and behavioural rules (incomes, contracts, etc.). The economic debate on the segmentation issue has been focusing in developed countries, and especially in Europe, on contractual segmentation and dualism. However, in developing countries such as Vietnam which is the focus of this study, wage work is marginal and the approach to labour market segmentation is necessarily slightly different. Indeed, most workers are engaged in the informal economy and many of them are self-employed in their own household business. Starting with an analysis of the main characteristics of the national labour market, this paper presents a survey of the literature on informality and labour market segmentation in Vietnam (section 2). Section 3 describes the institutional background related to firm registration and social protection in Vietnam, and analyses the reasons for informality in relationship with the institutional framework. Section 4 describes the reforms being put in place and employment strategies related to the informal economy. Policy recommendations are proposed in the last section. _________________________________ (français) La segmentation sur le marché du travail est usuellement définie comme la coexistence de deux segments ou secteurs qui se distinguent par leurs caractéristiques et les comportements qui y prévalent (niveau de revenus, contrats, etc.). Le débat économique sur la segmentation s’est focalisé dans les pays développés, et en particulier en Europe, sur le dualisme résultant des contrats. Cependant, dans les pays en développement comme le Vietnam, les emplois salariés étant marginaux, la segmentation sur le marché du travail doit nécessairement être appréhendée de manière différente. La majorité des emplois relève de l’économie informelle et une grande partie est constituée d’auto-emploi dans des entreprises individuelles. Partant d’une analyse des principales caractéristiques du marché du travail national, ce document présente ensuite une revue de la littérature sur l’informalité et la segmentation sur le marché du travail au Vietnam (section 2). La section 3 décrit le cadre institutionnel en matière d’enregistrement et de protection sociale au Vietnam, et analyse les raisons de l’informalité. La section 4 examine les réformes qui ont été mises en place et les stratégies en termes d’emploi touchant l’économie informelle. Enfin, des recommandations politiques sont proposées dans la dernière section.

Suggested Citation

  • Jean-Pierre Cling & Mireille Razafindrakoto & François Roubaud, 2014. "Segmentation and informality in Vietnam: A Survey of Literature," Working Papers DT/2014/14, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
  • Handle: RePEc:dia:wpaper:dt201414

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bocquier, Philippe & Nordman, Christophe J. & Vescovo, Aude, 2010. "Employment Vulnerability and Earnings in Urban West Africa," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(9), pages 1297-1314, September.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/4294 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Huu Chi Nguyen & Christophe J. Nordman & François Roubaud, 2013. "Who Suffers the Penalty?: A Panel Data Analysis of Earnings Gaps in Vietnam," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 49(12), pages 1694-1710, December.
    4. repec:dau:papers:123456789/10597 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Ralitza Dimova & Christophe J. Nordman & François Roubaud, 2010. "Allocation of Labor in Urban West Africa: Insights from the Pattern of Labor Supply and Skill Premiums," Review of Development Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 14(1), pages 74-92, February.
    6. Gary S. Fields, 2004. "Dualism In The Labor Market: A Perspective On The Lewis Model After Half A Century," Manchester School, University of Manchester, vol. 72(6), pages 724-735, December.
    7. Clément Imbert, 2011. "Decomposing wage inequality: Public and private sectors in Vietnam 1993-2006," PSE Working Papers halshs-00564653, HAL.
    8. Harris, John R & Todaro, Michael P, 1970. "Migration, Unemployment & Development: A Two-Sector Analysis," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(1), pages 126-142, March.
    9. repec:dau:papers:123456789/12321 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Nguyen Huu Chi & Nguyen Thi Thu Huyen & Axel Demenet & Mireille Razafindrakoto & Francois Roubaud, 2010. "Dynamics of the Informal Sector in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City 2007-2009," World Bank Other Operational Studies 27581, The World Bank.
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    More about this item


    Informality; Labour market; segmentation; Vietnam; Informel; marché du travail.;

    JEL classification:

    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • J31 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs - - - Wage Level and Structure; Wage Differentials
    • O53 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements

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