Pro-Poor Growth, Poverty and Inequality in Rural Vietnam
This study explores the effects of Vietnam's transition on the welfare of different ethnic groups in rural Vietnam. It draws on three rounds of national household surveys in 2002, 2004 and 2006. It is first observed that the pace of poverty reduction for minorities surpassed the majority over the period 2002–2006, although poor people were still concentrated in the minority groups throughout the period. Secondly, the disparity in living standards has been widening. In particular, inequality within both the majority and minority groups increased over the period. Thirdly, the study shows that the effect of economic growth on poverty is estimated to have been greater if inequality remained constant. It is also noted that the impacts of economic growth on poverty vary across different ethnic groups. Finally, regression decompositions of within inequality have confirmed that the main driver of inequality is not the same among ethnic groups. Given the diversity across different ethnic groups, we can conclude that government policy aimed at equal access to infrastructure and more equal distribution of assets, such as land, for ethnic minority groups would lead to more equal distribution of consumption and poverty reduction of those groups. Also, consideration of local needs would be necessary in designing and implementing public policies, given the heterogeneous socio-economic circumstances surrounding each ethnic minority group.
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