- Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China
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- by Abrami, Regina M.; Malesky, Edmund; Zheng, Yu
- Over the past two decades, no two economies have averaged more rapid economic growth than China and Vietnam.
But while China's income inequality has risen rapidly over that same time frame, Vietnam's has only grown
moderately. Structural and socio-cultural determinants fail to account for these divergent pathways. Existing political
variables are also unhelpful. China and Vietnam are coded in exactly the same way, even in the path-breaking work
on authoritarian regimes. In this paper, we take a deeper look at political institutions in the two countries,
demonstrating that profound differences between the polities directly impact distributional choices. In particular, we
find that Vietnamese elite institutions require construction of broader coalitions of policymakers, place more
constraints on executive decision making, and have more competitive selection processes. As a result, there are
stronger political motivations for Vietnamese leaders to provide equalizing transfers that limit inequality growth.
- Publication Type: WCFIA Working Paper
- Published Date: July 2008
- Field of Interest: Comparative Politics
- Abrami, Regina, Edmund Malesky, and Yu Zheng. "Accountability and Inequality in Single-Party Regimes: A Comparative Analysis of Vietnam and China." Working Paper 2008-0130, Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, Harvard University, July 2008.
- Also Harvard Business School Working Paper No. 08-099.