NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Moving out of Agriculture: Structural Change in Vietnam

Brian McCaig, Nina Pavcnik

NBER Working Paper No. 19616
Issued in November 2013
NBER Program(s):   DEV   ITI

We examine the role of structural change in the economic development of Vietnam from 1990 to 2008. Structural change accounted for a third of the growth in aggregate labor productivity during this period, which averaged 5.1 percent per annum. We discuss the role of reforms in agriculture, enterprises, and international integration in this process. In addition to the drastic move of employment away from agriculture toward services and manufacturing, we also document the movement of workers away from household businesses toward firms in the enterprise sector, and the reallocation of workers from state owned firms toward private domestic and foreign owned firms. Manufacturing experienced particularly rapid growth in labor productivity and a large expansion of employment, as it grew from 8 to 14 percent of the workforce. Changes in trade policy, expansion of employment in foreign owned firms, and the declining role of state owned enterprises robustly contributed toward the changing structure of employment within manufacturing.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19616

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