Economic growth, poverty, and household welfare in Vietnam

François J. Bourguignon

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Vietnam's economic and social achievements in the 1990s are nothing short of amazing, arguably placing it among the top two or three performers among all developing countries. This success demands serious study in order to draw lessons for other developing countries. Fortunately, there are high-quality data available to undertake such a study, and this book has made full use of those data, especially the 1992-93 and 1997-98 Vietnam Living Standards Surveys, to document and understand Vietnam's experience and to provide policy recommendations for other low-income countries. This volume offers a very broad array of studies of Vietnam's economy and society in the 1990s. It begins with four chapters on Vietnam's economic performance, each focusing on a different topic: macroeconomic growth, wage labor markets, household enterprises, and agriculture. Of course, economic growth can take many forms, with widely differing consequences for poverty reduction. The next three chapters focus on poverty reduction in the 1990s, examining the impact (or lack thereof) of various poverty programs, the spatial distribution of poverty, and poverty among ethnic minorities. The next five chapters examine health and education outcomes. Three chapters on health consider child survival, child nutrition, and use of health care services, and two chapters on education cover basic trends in enrollment and financing and the factors that determine school progress and academic achievement. The last three chapters examine topics of particular interest in Vietnam: child labor, economic mobility, and inter-household transfers. As a whole, this book constitutes a comprehensive study of economic and social development in Vietnam in the 1990s. The research presented in t his book involves the collaboration of numerous individuals and organizations. The two Vietnam Living Standards Surveys used in the book were implemented by Vietnam's General Statistical Office, with financing from the United Nations Development Programme and the Swedish International Development Agency and technical support from the World Bank. Funding for the research was obtained from the World Bank's Research Committee. The results were first presented at a workshop in Hanoi in May 2001 that was attended by a wide range of government officials, international organizations, and individual researchers. The extensive use made of household survey data in this study raises the question of what data will be collected in the future in Vietnam. Fortunately, Vietnam's General Statistical Office has developed, with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme and the World Bank, a plan for implementing similar household surveys every two years. The first survey, known as the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey, was implemented in 2002 and preparations are now under way to implement another survey in 2004. This continued data collection will provide a sound foundation for study of Vietnam's social and economic progress in the first decade of the 21st century.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-628
Number of pages628
JournalWorld Bank Regional and Sectoral Studies
StatePublished - 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development


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