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Is landholding a potential barrier to adopting profitable livelihoods in the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam ?

Van Hoang, Cuong and Quang Tran, Tuyen and Hai Thi Nguyen, Yen and Duc Nguyen, Kien (2019): Is landholding a potential barrier to adopting profitable livelihoods in the Mekong Delta region in Vietnam ? Forthcoming in: Human Ecology (12 August 2019): pp. 1-18.

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Abstract

Using secondary data on rural households in the Mekong Delta region of Vietnam, our study is the first to identify (i) what livelihoods are adopted by rural households, (ii) which ones are profitable and which are not, and (iii) whether access to various types of land is an important factor affecting households’ choice of remunerative livelihoods. Considering various income sources, we apply cluster analysis techniques to offer the first classification of five types of livelihood adopted by local households. We then compare livelihood outcomes across livelihood groups using Bonferroni pairwise tests and quantile functions (Pen’s parades). It was found that households engaged in farm work, formal wage-earning work and non-wage work livelihoods obtained higher levels of income than did those with livelihoods depending on informal wage-earning work or non-labor income sources. Using a multinomial logit model, we also examine factors affecting choices of income-earning activities, and find that several types of land are positively associated with the choice of high-return livelihoods, implying that lack of access to land is a potential obstacle to adopting profitable livelihoods. Fortunately, education is found to play a major role in the pursuit of remunerative livelihoods, which suggests that better education would help households move from low- to high-return activities.

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