Ethnicity and household welfare in Vietnam: empirical evidence from 1993 to 2004.
The primary purpose of this paper is to determine the relative welfare position of different ethnic groupings in Vietnam using data spanning a twelve-year period corresponding to radical economic transformation in Vietnam. The analysis reported in this study confirms that the Kinh (Viet) majority has been the primary beneficiaries of the Doi moi reform process. The living standards of Kinh-headed households have risen relative to the average over the period 1993 to 2004, whether we examine the poorest, richest or the average Kinh-headed household. The relative position of the Khmer and Cham in recent times has also improved in rural areas while that of the Chinese (Hoa) has declined, so that by 2004 these groups were found to be statistically indistinguishable from the national average. However, sizeable and persistent gaps in household welfare are found to remain for the Northern and Central Highlands Minorities. Our findings also suggest that the disadvantaged position of Vietnam's ethnic minority groups cannot be attributed exclusively to the role of geography and the concentration of ethnic minorities in the more remote parts of the country.