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The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam

Author

Listed:
  • Melissa Dell
  • Nathaniel Lane
  • Pablo Querubin

Abstract

This study examines how the historical state conditions long-run development, using Vietnam as a laboratory. Northern Vietnam (Dai Viet) was ruled by a strong centralized state in which the village was the fundamental administrative unit. Southern Vietnam was a peripheral tributary of the Khmer (Cambodian) Empire, which followed a patron-client model with weaker, more personalized power relations and no village intermediation. Using a regression discontinuity design across the Dai Viet-Khmer boundary, the study shows that areas historically under a strong state have higher living standards today and better economic outcomes over the past 150 years. Rich historical data document that in villages with a strong historical state, citizens have been better able to organize for public goods and redistribution through civil society and local government. This suggests that the strong historical state crowded in village-level collective action and that these norms persisted long after the original state disappeared.

Suggested Citation

  • Melissa Dell & Nathaniel Lane & Pablo Querubin, 2017. "The Historical State, Local Collective Action, and Economic Development in Vietnam," NBER Working Papers 23208, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:23208
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w23208.pdf
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Assessing the Determinants of Economic Growth in South East Asia
      by Fernando Arteaga in NEP-HIS blog on 2017-04-18 20:23:27

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Michalopoulos, Stelios & Papaioannou, Elias, 2017. "Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach," Working Papers 4, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute.
    2. Melissa Dell & Benjamin A. Olken, 2017. "The Development Effects of the Extractive Colonial Economy: The Dutch Cultivation System in Java," NBER Working Papers 24009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Tom Barker & Murat Ungor, 2018. "Vietnam: The Next Asian Tiger?," Working Papers 1803, University of Otago, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2018.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N15 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Asia including Middle East
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth

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