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Microeconomic Impacts of Institutional Change in Vietnam’s Northern Uplands

Empirical Studies on Social Capital, Land and Credit Institutions

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Camille Saint-Macary

The Doi Moi reforms initiated in Vietnam in 1986 to lead the transition from a centrally-planned to a market-oriented economy have entailed deep institutional transformations. At the national level, achievements have been impressive, the high economic growth in all sectors of the economy have permitted to divide poverty incidence by three in the country since 1993. Mountainous regions and its inhabitants, however, have lagged behind in the process. There, the combination of poverty and the degradation of natural resources remains a pressing issue. Drawing on a conceptual framework that highlights the determinant role of institutions in the poverty-environment nexus, this book investigates the sources of success and failure in the current institutional framework to address objectives of equity, economic growth and environmental sustainability in Vietnam’s mountains. The empirical investigation uses an original dataset collected in a rural district and examines three critical dimensions: the definition of land rights, the functioning of credit markets, and the formation of social capital.
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Acknowledgements

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This book is the outcome of my PhD research conducted at the Department of Rural Development Theory and Policy of the Institute of Agricultural Economics and Social Sciences in the Tropics and Subtropics the University of Hohenheim. This research has been realized within the special research program SFB 564, known as the Uplands Program, and financed by the DFG whom is gratefully acknowledged. Working in such a stimulating project under the supervision of Prof. Zeller has been a fantastic experience. Many thanks go to him, and to Prof. Lippert, and Prof. Birner for taking part in my PhD committee and reviewing my thesis. I also thank all the persons in the project and outside who have contributed intellectually and administratively to the achievement of this work, in particular Prof. Heidhues, Alwin Keil, Prof. Stahr, Gerhard Clemens, Holger Frölich, Mrs. Hong and many more. The dataset which constitutes a core part of this thesis has been collected in collaboration with the Department of Economics and Rural Development of the Hanoi University of Agriculture, Prof. Pham Thi My Dung, Le Thi Ai Van and Dinh Thi Tuyet Van. This thesis owes a lot to the enumerators, local officials and respondents in Yen Chau, who have taken part in the survey and provided the main material of this thesis. Many more people, colleagues, friends, and family, have accompanied me through this journey and have contributed in some way to this book, to all of them, thank you.

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