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Language, Mixed Communes and Infrastructure: Sources of Inequality and Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam

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  • Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen
  • Tom Kompas
  • Trevor Breusch
  • Michael B. Ward

Abstract

This paper re-examines the sources of inequality in Vietnam, a transitional economy with large reductions in poverty from recent and dramatic economic growth, but vastly unequal gains across ethnic groups. Using an instrumental variable approach to provide consistent estimators of explanatory variables at household and commune levels for ethnic differences in real household expenditure per person, we draw four key conclusions. First, removing language barriers would signifcantly reduce inequality among ethnic groups, narrowing the ethnic gap, and especially so through enhancing the gains earned by minorities from education. Second, variations in returns to education exist in favour of the majority in mixed communes, suggesting that either the special needs of minority children have not been adequately addressed in the classroom, or preferential treatment and the possibility of some form of discrimination exists in the labour market. Third, in contrast to recent literature, there is little di erence between ethnic groups in terms of the benefits drawn from enhanced infrastructure, such as power and clean water, at the commune level. An exception is the returns to roads, which differentially benefits the minority group. Finally, contrary to established views, we find that as much as 50 to 70 percent of the ethnic gap is attributed to differences in endowments, and not to differences in the returns to endowments.

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  • Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen & Tom Kompas & Trevor Breusch & Michael B. Ward, 2012. "Language, Mixed Communes and Infrastructure: Sources of Inequality and Ethnic Minorities in Vietnam," Crawford School Research Papers 1207, Crawford School of Public Policy, The Australian National University.
  • Handle: RePEc:een:crwfrp:1207
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    2. Quynh Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series 134, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    3. Dang, Hai-Anh H. & Hoang, Trung X. & Nguyen, Ha, 2018. "The Long-Run and Gender-Equalizing Impacts of School Access: Evidence from the First Indochina War," GLO Discussion Paper Series 223, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    4. Paul Glewwe & Qihui Chen & Bhagyashree Katare, 2015. "What Determines Learning among Kinh and Ethnic Minority Students in Vietnam? An Analysis of the Round 2 Young Lives Data," Asia and the Pacific Policy Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 2(3), pages 494-516, September.
    5. Hai-Anh H. Dang & Paul W. Glewwe, 2018. "Well Begun, but Aiming Higher: A Review of Vietnam’s Education Trends in the past 20 Years and Emerging Challenges," Journal of Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 54(7), pages 1171-1195, July.
    6. Yuki, Kazuhiro, 2021. "Language education and economic outcomes in a bilingual society," MPRA Paper 106119, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Pham Van Ha & Hoa Thi Minh Nguyen & Tom Kompas & Tuong Nhu Che & Bui Trinh, 2015. "Rice Production, Trade and the Poor: Regional Effects of Rice Export Policy on Households in Vietnam," Journal of Agricultural Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(2), pages 280-307, June.
    8. Phuc Phan & Martin O’Brien, 2019. "Multidimensional Wellbeing Inequality in a Developing Country: A Case Study of Vietnam," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 145(1), pages 157-183, August.
    9. Quynh Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Vietnam," WIDER Working Paper Series wp-2018-134, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    10. Vu Ha Thu & Daisaku Goto, 2020. "Does Microfinance Improve the Household Welfare of Ethnic Minorities? Evidence from Bac Kan Province, Vietnam," Progress in Development Studies, , vol. 20(1), pages 65-83, January.
    11. Hoa-Thi-Minh Nguyen & Huong Do & Adrian Kay & Tom Kompas, 2020. "Rice policy in a transitional economy: balancing the social and political objectives," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 12(3), pages 549-566, June.
    12. Hoang & Laure Pasquier-Doumer & Camille Saint-Macary, 2018. "Ethnicity and risk sharing network formation: Evidence from rural Viet Nam," Working Papers DT/2018/15, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
    13. Tran Quang Tuyen, 2016. "Income sources and inequality among ethnic minorities in the Northwest region, Vietnam," Environment, Development and Sustainability: A Multidisciplinary Approach to the Theory and Practice of Sustainable Development, Springer, vol. 18(4), pages 1239-1254, August.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ethnic inequality; poverty; language; instrumental variables; Vietnam; infrastructure; human capital;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • P20 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - General

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