Structural Transformation, Growth, and Inequality: Evidence from Viet Nam
Viet Nam is growing rapidly, but not very inclusively.
We examine whether structural transformation leads to growth and income inequality in Viet Nam. Using three rounds of the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey (2002, 2006, and 2010), we estimate re-centered influence functions to construct a decomposition analysis. Our results indicate that Viet Nam continues to experience sustained structural transformation and growth, but this growth is heterogeneous across regions. The growth exhibits pro-rich gains, with returns to agriculture and manufacturing increasing only for the top 10 to 20 percentiles. We also find that such growth increases income inequality in Viet Nam, and change in income inequality is heterogeneous across regions. Differences in growth and income inequality are driven by differences in the rate of industrialisation across regions and by structural effects such as access to seaports. For a more inclusive growth, access to non-farm activities may need to be increased for households that are not in areas with high levels of structural transformation.