Enduring poverty: explanations for the persistence of minority poverty in Vietnam

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master of Arts
Title Enduring poverty: explanations for the persistence of minority poverty in Vietnam
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
URL https://calhoun.nps.edu/bitstream/handle/10945/53004/17Mar_Krajan_Emilie.pdf?sequence=1
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 country’s economic growth and targeted
government poverty alleviation programs. Why does poverty persist among ethnic
minorities despite Vietnam’s 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.

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