September 1, 2008
Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School

This paper responds to a request from the Vietnamese government for an analysis of the short and long term challenges confronting the Vietnamese economy. We believe that restoring macroeconomic stability and positioning the economy for long term growth will require fundamental, structural reform. We begin by comparing Vietnam's performance over the past twenty years to other countries in the region. This comparison reveals a set of worrisome trends which, taken together, raise questions about the sustainability of Vietnam's growth path. Part II examines the current macroeconomic environment and assesses the government's response to date. We conclude that, while government policy has succeeded in reducing macroeconomic turbulence in the short run, nothing has been done to address the structural weaknesses of the Vietnamese economy.

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