The historical state, local collective action, and economic development in Vietnam

Melissa Dell, Nathan Lane, Pablo Querubin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines how the historical state conditions long-run development, using Vietnam as a laboratory. Northern Vietnam (Dai Viet) was ruled by a strong, centralized state in which the village was the fundamental administrative unit. Southern Vietnam was a peripheral tributary of the Khmer (Cambodian) Empire, which followed a patron-client model with more informal, personalized power relations and no village intermediation. Using a regression discontinuity design, the study shows that areas exposed to Dai Viet administrative institutions for a longer period prior to French colonization have experienced better economic outcomes over the past 150 years. Rich historical data document that in Dai Viet villages, citizens have been better able to organize for public goods and redistribution through civil society and local government. We argue that institutionalized village governance crowded in local cooperation and that these norms persisted long after the original institutions disappeared.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2083-2121
Number of pages39
JournalEconometrica
Volume86
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2018

Keywords

  • Collective action
  • economic development
  • governance

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