The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 25–46

Growth with equity: income inequality in Vietnam, 2002–14


DOI: 10.1007/s10888-016-9341-7

Cite this article as:
Benjamin, D., Brandt, L. & McCaig, B. J Econ Inequal (2017) 15: 25. doi:10.1007/s10888-016-9341-7


We use the 2002 through 2014 Vietnam Household Living Standards Surveys to construct comparable measures of household income and estimates of income inequality over this high-growth period. We focus on two questions: How have benefits from growth been distributed; and do changes in the structure of the economy map into changes in inequality? We explore dimensions in which inequality may vary, notably urban versus rural, and by ethnic status. We also decompose inequality by income source to highlight key factors underlying the relatively low levels of inequality during this period. We find that agricultural opportunities played an important role in dampening inequality, but more important has been the steady development of wage-labor markets in both urban and rural areas. An important caveat to the generally rosy picture we paint is the deteriorating position of ethnic minorities. Finally, we draw comparisons with China and document key differences in their growth-inequality experiences.


Income inequality Vietnam Decomposition 

Supplementary material

10888_2016_9341_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (2.3 mb)
(PDF 2.34 MB)

Funding information

Funder NameGrant NumberFunding Note
Wilfrid Laurier University, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics
    Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
      Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada

        Copyright information

        © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

        Authors and Affiliations

        1. 1.Department of EconomicsWilfrid Laurier UniversityWaterlooCanada
        2. 2.Department of EconomicsUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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