The Gender Wealth Gap by Household Head in Vietnam
While the gender income gap has been examined extensively, the gender wealth gap has largelybeen ignored, especially for emerging markets such as Vietnam. The lack of serious analysis
has caused great concern for practitioners and policymakers as public policy targeting the
inequality in income and wealth across genders has not achieved their desired outcomes.
Previous studies on gender in emerging markets have focused on income rather than wealth.
This paper provides a comprehensive review and insightful policy recommendations on the
important issue. Using data from Vietnam’s Household Living Standard Survey (VHLSS), the
paper examines the gender wealth inequality for sole-head families and partner-head families in
Vietnam in 2016, the latest year for which data are available. In addition, the paper extends the
Machado-Mata decomposition technique based on the Oaxaca-Blinder decomposition, which
was developed for quantile regressions, to examine the relationship across the distributions of
wealth accumulation. The empirical findings from the paper indicate that, among partnered
heads, female-head families experienced a larger gap of wealth accumulation. At the lower
quantiles of wealth accumulation, the gender wealth gap is primarily associated with different
characteristics for both sole and partner-head households. At the median and upper tails of the
distribution of wealth accumulation, gender differences in endowments (such as education level
and living area) are the main determinants in explaining the wealth gap. Given the empirical
findings in the paper, policy implications emerge for the Vietnam Government to consider
policies targeting a support for females as female-head families appear to be poorer than their
male-head counterparts in terms of wealth.
Gender wealth gap, male-head households, female-head households, quantile regressions, wealth gap decomposition, Vietnam.
J12, J16, J18, D31