Migration in Vietnam: New Evidence from Recent Surveys

World Bank: Vietnam Development Economics Discussion Papers No. 2

35 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2016

See all articles by Ian Coxhead

Ian Coxhead

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics

Cuong Viet Nguyen

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam

Linh Hoang Vu

World Bank

Date Written: November 2015

Abstract

We investigate determinants of individual migration decisions in Vietnam, a country with increasingly high levels of geographical labor mobility. Using data from the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey (VHLSS) of 2012, we find that probability of migration is strongly associated with individual, household and community-level characteristics. The probability of migration is higher for young people and those with post-secondary education. Migrants are more likely to be from households with better-educated household heads, female-headed households, and households with higher youth dependency ratios. Members of ethnic minority groups are much less likely to migrate, other things equal. Using multinomial logit methods, we distinguish migration by broad destination, and find that those moving to Ho Chi Minh City or Hanoi have broadly similar characteristics to those moving to other destinations. We also use VHLSS 2012 together with VHLSS 2010 to identify recent migrants — those present in the household in 2010, but who have moved away by 2012. This yields much tighter results. For education below upper secondary school, the evidence on positive selection by education is much stronger. However, the ethnic minority “penalty” on spatial labor mobility remains strong and significant. This lack of mobility is a leading candidate to explain the distinctive persistence of poverty among Vietnam’s ethnic minority populations, even as national poverty has sharply diminished.

Keywords: migration, migration decision, remittances, household survey, Vietnam

JEL Classification: O15, R23, I32

Suggested Citation

Coxhead, Ian and Nguyen, Cuong Viet and Vu, Linh Hoang, Migration in Vietnam: New Evidence from Recent Surveys (November 2015). World Bank: Vietnam Development Economics Discussion Papers No. 2. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2752834 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2752834

Ian Coxhead (Contact Author)

University of Wisconsin - Madison - Department of Agricultural & Applied Economics ( email )

427 Lorch St.
Madison, WI 53706-1503
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.aae.wisc.edu/coxhead

Cuong Viet Nguyen

(NEU) National Economics University of Vietnam ( email )

207 Giai phong Road
Hai Ba Trung District
Hanoi, Hanoi 10000
Vietnam

Linh Hoang Vu

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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