IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Log in (now much improved!) to save this paper

Intergovernmental fiscal relations and poverty alleviation in Viet Nam

Listed author(s):
  • Bird, Richard M.
  • Litvack, Jennie I.
  • Rao, M. Govinda

A successful poverty alleviation strategy has four distinct elements: 1) identifying who the poor are, where they are located, and what they do; 2) analyzing why they are poor; 3) developing policies to improve their standards of living; and 4) supplementing income-improving policies with direct"safety net"policies to increase the poor's short-term consumption etitlements. The precise mixture of"capacity-improving"investments and"safety net"policies appropriate for any country will depend on the country's income level, the extent and nature of its poverty problem, and many other factors. The strategy chosen must be implemented effectively. Spending and revenue decisions need to be more decentralized to ensure that the poverty alleviation policies adopted reflect the preferences, needs, and fiscal abilities of different regions of the country. The nature of that decentralization depends on the country. Pro-poor services throughout Viet Nam are underfunded. This problem is particularly acute in the poorer areas. Improvements in the system of intergovernmental finances could help ensure that each level of government, even in the poorer provinces, is adequately funded - and provided with sufficient expenditure and revenue raising autonomy - to support local investments and their operation and maintenance. Since poor provinces are less able to mobilize additional local revenues to support services, well-designed intergovernmental transfers are particularly important. Provinces must play a greater role both in raising revenues and in allocating expenditures, with incentives built in to ensure that they do so responsibly and efficiently. Local governments must - if they are tobe held accountable for their actions - have some responsibility for determining local tax rates. This will allow them to vary rates to collect more revenues to finance higher levels of public services if they so choose, and at the same time allow the central government to design its transfers in such a way as to ensure that local fiscal efforts are not discouraged by the receipt of such transfers. Richer provinces will tend to collect greater revenues. When transfers are needed to finance local spending in poorer areas, they should provide incentives for local revenue mobilization and allow for some degree of equalization. Services deemed of national importance (for example, a minimum level of education, health care, and social relief) can be promoted by designing specific-purpose transfers. These services must be identified and varying matching requirements established for different provinces depending on such factors as their own revenue base and the cost of providing services in that province.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 1430.

in new window

Date of creation: 31 Mar 1995
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1430
Contact details of provider: Postal:
1818 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20433

Phone: (202) 477-1234
Web page:

More information through EDIRC

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

in new window

  1. Bird, Richard M., 1993. "Threading the Fiscal Labyrinth: Some Issues in Fiscal Decentralization," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 46(2), pages 207-27, June.
  2. Oakland, William H., 1994. "Fiscal Equalization: An Empty Box?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 199-209, March.
  3. Oakland, William H., 1994. "Fiscal Equalization: An Empty Box?," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(1), pages 199-209, March.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:1430. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.