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Enduring Poverty: Explanations for the Persistence of Minority Poverty in Vietnam

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis examines the persistence of poverty among ethnic minorities in Vietnam. Ethnic minorities are consistently poorer than the Kinh-Hoa majority in Vietnam, having benefitted less from the countrys economic growth and targeted government poverty alleviation programs. Why does poverty persist among ethnic minorities despite Vietnams efforts to improve the wealth and living standards of poor minorities in mountainous and rural areas This thesis argues that ethnic discrimination and cultural differences between ethnic groups contribute more to the persistence of minority poverty than geography and agricultural livelihoods. When prosperity levels are compared between the ethnic majority and minority groups, between ethnic groups in similar geographic regions, and between ethnic groups with agricultural livelihoods, the result is that minorities are typically poorer than the majority even when both groups live in the same areas and work in the same job sectors. Thus, ethnicity has a greater impact on interethnic inequality and poverty than geography or livelihood. This thesis finds that cultural differences between minority and majority ways of life, social factors of ethnic discrimination, and ethnocentric poverty alleviation programs are the main limiters of the returns to assets and inputs of ethnic minorities in Vietnam.

Subject Categories:

  • Economics and Cost Analysis
  • Government and Political Science
  • Sociology and Law

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