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Over the past two decades, no two economies have averaged more rapid economic growth than China and Vietnam. In this paper, the authors take a deeper look at political institutions in the two countries, demonstrating that profound differences between the polities directly impact distributional choices. In particular, they find that Vietnamese elite institutions require construction of broader coalitions of policymakers, place more constraints on executive decision making, and have more competitive selection processes. As a result, there are stronger political motivations for Vietnamese leaders to provide equalizing transfers that limit inequality growth.
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