Rising consumer debt and interdependence with China: APU graduate students publish on politics and economics in Vietnam


Aug 19, 2019

Two APU graduate students, Hong Kong Nguyen (GSAM class of 2021) and Tung Manh Ho (GSAM class of 2020), recently contributed to two different academic publications, taking a look at political and economic topics in Vietnam.

Hong Kong Nguyen (left) and Tung Manh Ho (right)
co-authored two recent papers on politics and economics in Vietnam.

They joined their co-authors in reviewing rising household and other debt in Vietnam in "The new politics of debt in the transition economy of Vietnam," published in the latest issue of the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies. Through an examination of consumerism, the boom of the super-rich in Vietnam, and the over-reliance on debt financing, they shed light on the growing tolerance of unhealthy lending and borrowing practices, and caution that Vietnam may become toxically pro-consumption.

In "The ‘Same Bed, Different Dreams’ of Vietnam and China" for the European Journal of East Asian Studies, Nguyen and Ho worked with co-authors from Phenikaa University in Hanoi, Vietnam and the Campus de Dijon in Dijon, France to contribute to the growing body of literature on China studies. Their article focuses on the similarities and asymmetry between China and Vietnam, highlighting a relationship that is interdependent, yet fragile.

Nguyen, Ho, and their respective co-authors hope their contributions will improve understanding of Vietnam’s politics and economics in both academic and non-academic circles. By bringing attention to two thorny issues facing a transition economy such as Vietnam – the challenges of balancing against a giant and powerful neighbor and the difficulty of keeping debt under control in a populous economy with high demand for consumption – they also hope to provide valuable lessons for other developing countries.

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