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Vietnam’s Trade Liberalisation: Potential Impacts on Child Well-being

Nguyen, Anh and Jones, Nicola (2006): Vietnam’s Trade Liberalisation: Potential Impacts on Child Well-being.

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Abstract

Following extensive economic and market reforms and more than a decade of negotiations, Vietnam became the latest country to accede to the World Trade Organization in November 2006. While it is expected that greater integration into the world economy will boost Vietnam’s economic growth and contribute to the country’s ongoing transition towards a market economy, there are concerns about potentially negative impacts on vulnerable sectors of the population, including remote rural populations, women and children. This paper examines the possible impacts of Vietnam’s trade liberalisation on children in poor communities. It focuses on three key aspects of child well-being – child work (domestic and extra-household), educational attainment and health status – drawing on data from the first wave of the Young Lives Vietnam longitudinal survey on childhood poverty. Our main findings point to significant differences based on ethnicity, household poverty status and vulnerability to declining living standards, parental (especially maternal) education levels, children’s involvement in work activities, and access to public services.

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