Working Paper
Structural Transformation, Biased Technological Change, and Employment in Vietnam

Employment in Vietnam and elsewhere in Asia has grown more slowly than GDP over the last several decades. This means GDP per capita is rising. Vietnamese policymakers, however, are concerned that ongoing structural transformation is creating too few jobs.

We use data for seven aggregated sectors and the overall Vietnamese economy to examine the roles played by structural transformation, technical change, and institutional bias toward capital intensive development to evaluate the Vietnamese development experience. We find that while some of the difference between GDP and employment growth can be attributed to capital intensive investment by the state, the majority of the difference is due to technical change.

A positive rather than a pessimistic overall assessment is warranted based on the available evidence.