Regional Informal Institutions, Local Governance and Internal Migration in Vietnam

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Internal migration is an institutionalised process; it is affected not only by economic factors but also by institutional forces. This study thus employs institutional theory to investigate the importance of regional informal institutions and local governance quality on types of migration, as well as their impacts on migrants' earnings. Examining a set of national internal migration data in Vietnam, we find that pure socialist regions (the north) attract in-migration for job-seeking purposes while pre-capitalist regions (the south) attract in-migration for business-opportunity-seeking purposes. More importantly, migration across regions with dissimilar informal institutions yields adverse effects on migrants' earnings. Finally, migration from regions with a lower governance quality to regions with a higher governance quality improves migrants' earnings.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRegional studies
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Regional Studies, "Nguyen, B. (2022) Regional Informal Institutions, Local Governance and Internal Migration in Vietnam, Regional Studies (In Press)". It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Funding Information: This research is funded by Vietnam National Foundation for Science and Technology Development (NAFOSTED) under grant number 502.01-2020.01. The authors would like to thank the Editor and the two Reviewers for the sharp and constructive feedback. All errors remain ours.


  • Internal migration
  • Informal institutions
  • Local governance quality
  • Migration purposes
  • Vietnam


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