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Change in Social Capital – a Case Study of Collective Rice Farming Practice in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam


  • Le, Anh Tuan


This paper describes how the social capital of rice farmers of the Mekong delta of Vietnam - manifested in the tradition of collective farming practice, changed from the 1940s to 1990s. The reason this collective rice farming had existed for decades, irrespective of critical events that challenged its continuation, was the co-existence of two key factors – high need for collective farming to ensure subsistence, and the availability of a closely knit social network that facilitated the exchange of labor. Despite its longevity, the practice of a cohesive and spontaneous collective farming, particularly in terms of labor exchange and labor participation in farming activities, was not maintained under the influence of agrarian reforms which aimed to improve rural livelihood. Land reform resulted in individual rice farming, making mobilization for spontaneous collective action, at the community level quite challenging. The assessment arose in the context of the need to mobilize collective action for implementation of a Community Trap Barrier System (CTBS), an ecologically-based rodent pest management system. It is concluded that successful restoration of social capital in the form of collective farming practices at the field level may depend on government intervention strategies at both local and national policy levels.

Suggested Citation

  • Le, Anh Tuan, 2010. "Change in Social Capital – a Case Study of Collective Rice Farming Practice in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam," MPRA Paper 25552, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:25552

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Joel Sobel, 2002. "Can We Trust Social Capital?," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 40(1), pages 139-154, March.
    2. Vasco Molini & Guanghua Wan, 2008. "Discovering sources of inequality in transition economies: a case study of rural Vietnam," Economic Change and Restructuring, Springer, vol. 41(1), pages 75-96, March.
    3. Delhey, Jan & Newton, Kenneth, 2002. "Who trusts? The origins of social trust in seven nations," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 02-402, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    4. Pingali, Prabhu L & Xuan, Vo-Tong, 1992. "Vietnam: Decollectivization and Rice Productivity Growth," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 40(4), pages 697-718, July.
    5. Gaute Torsvik, 2000. "Social Capital And Economic Development," Rationality and Society, , vol. 12(4), pages 451-476, November.
    6. Elster, Jon, 1989. "Social Norms and Economic Theory," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 3(4), pages 99-117, Fall.
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    More about this item


    social capital; rice; Mekong; farming practice; agrarian reform;

    JEL classification:

    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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