How remote are Vietnam's ethnic minorities? An analysis of spatial patterns of poverty and inequality
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This paper investigates whether physical accessibility or ethnicity is a stronger determinant of poverty in Vietnam. Spatially disaggregated welfare indexes for population subgroups show that overall inequality is shaped by an urban-rural welfare divide, closely followed in importance by sharp welfare differences between ethnic groups. Accessibility to urban areas is a weaker determinant of poverty. The findings have important implications for the targeting of rural development investments. Addressing the factors isolating ethnic minorities from the mainstream economy is likely to be a more useful strategy in reducing rural poverty and inequality than simple geographic targeting.
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