Faculty Publications

Title

The Growing Role of International Remittances in the Vietnamese Economy: Evidence from the Vietnam (Household) Living Standard Surveys

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2010

Abstract

Our findings include that overseas remittances come from throughout the world, but are dominated by the United States as a main source. Also, over time, the destinations of foreign remittances are becoming more diverse as they move away from Ho Chi Minh city and other urban areas, in particular, to other regions and to rural areas. Nonetheless, the percentage of households receiving overseas remittances as held steady at around 5 to 7 percent of the population. Also, widows, the elderly, female headed households, and households where the head does not work disproportionately receive foreign remittances. This helps to ensure that foreign remittances actually improve equality in Vietnam with regard to per-capita household expenditures, though the improvements are quite small. Nonetheless, the improvements to income equality caused by overseas remittances are becoming more substantial over time. We also determine that overseas remittances are used primarily for consumption, and they are mainly provided by close family members including children, spouses, and siblings.