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Social Capital Configuration Variation and the Contemporary Transformation of Rural Vietnam1

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This article examines the contemporary transformation of rural Vietnam in relation to market economy dynamics and regionally varying configurations of social capital. It is based on the author’s longitudinal and panel study of seven Vietnamese lowland communities (two in the north, two in the mid-central coast, and three in the southern Mekong Delta) over a decade in the twenty-first century. Living standards in the rural Vietnamese lowlands have increased significantly thanks mainly to migration, industrial production dispersal to smaller provinces, and the higher wages in rural communities that have resulted from reduced labour supply. However, per capita income has generally increased faster in communities in the northern delta and the central coast than in those of the Mekong Delta. This article suggests that the differences in social capital configuration between the northern Red River Delta and the central coast on the one hand, and in the southern Mekong Delta on the other, have contributed to the faster per capita income growth in the former.
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Keywords: Vietnam; economic development; regional variation; rural living standards; social capital

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: is a professor of anthropology at the University of Toronto, Canada. [email protected]

Publication date: June 1, 2018

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