First Advisor

Bruce Gilley

Date of Publication

Fall 10-31-2019

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Public Affairs and Policy


Public Affairs and Policy




Land tenure -- Government policy -- Vietnam, Land reform -- Government policy -- Vietnam, Right of property -- Vietnam



Physical Description

1 online resource (xvi, 220 pages)


The Doi Moi policy (economic reform) launched in 1986 has resulted in economic boom for Vietnam. The nation with a population of around 95 million people recently joined the middle-income nation group and became a "major development success story." In the land sector, while the land ownership is controlled by the State, the privatization process of land rights has brought Vietnamese people five fundamental rights over land. To meet increasing demands of economic development and urban expansion, the central government of Vietnam (CGV) has implemented land-taking policy from early 1990s. The land acquisition policy, on the one hand, has attracted numerous investors with cheap land access that fueled Vietnam's rapid economic development. On the other hand, the policy has also unleashed resistance among affected landholders. As manifestations of policy noncompliance, disputes and conflicts over land acquisition across country have become a highly complex and dynamic challenge for CPV - the only ruling political party in Vietnam. Over the last three decades, land acquisition policy literature in Vietnam has been dominated by economic, institutional, and good governance approaches. These theories offer alternative explanations and a range of policy recommendations for noncompliance with land acquisition. However, these approaches tend to largely ignore process/action aspects of policy implementation that importantly contribute to policy success or failure. Many recommendations for policy reform are not realistic in Vietnam's current context. This research, thus, contributes to land-taking policy literature by focusing on policy tools used by local implementers to change target groups' behaviors.

This dissertation study applied a multiple case study design to explore linkages between policy tools and noncompliance with land acquisition. The researcher selected three land-taking incidents in Bac Ninh province and Hanoi capital city in the North, and Ho Chi Minh City in the South for a cross-case analysis. To get real experiences with land-taking policy implementation, the researcher conducted fieldwork in Bac Ninh and Vinh Phuc provinces. Research participants included land officials and managers, government leaders, and affected landholders. Qualitative interviews, focus groups, and web-search were three major methods used for collecting data. To analyze qualitative data, the researcher adopted techniques of coding, thematic analysis, and document analysis. Common themes emerged across three cases were used to construct a cross-case analysis of three land-taking incidents.

Research results suggested a linkage between implementation tools and landholders' noncompliance with land acquisition. Vietnamese implementers were required to employ direct government organizations, authoritative tools, and information-based tools while giving less importance to the role of financial tools in executing land-taking projects. The researcher also found inappropriate tool choice and combinations that encouraged implementers' abuse of public authority. Types of preferred tools and patterns of tool choice and use defined coercive interactions and relationship between implementers and affected landholders who had no choice but giving up their land. This qualitative study revealed that tool mixes preferred by implementers might ensure policy effectiveness and efficiency but reduce policy responsiveness and legitimacy. Study results supported research prepositions that economic, institutional, and good governance factors are insufficient to explain noncompliance with land acquisition in Vietnam. This tool focused study showed that landholders' resistance was related to characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of each tool and how tools were combined in tools mixes used in policy implementation.

This case study offers tool-based policy implications for reducing noncompliance with land acquisition. First, at the central level of government, Vietnamese policy makers should consider indirect government mechanism of policy implementation. Non-State actors should be allowed to take part in land acquisition serving economic development purposes. Market institutions need to be recognized in order to balance land related interests among three key actors, including: the government, landholders, and land developers (investors). Second, for land-takings serving public purposes at local level, the use of direct government organizations should be limited; BCGCs need to include more non-state actors in order to operate as an advisory unit. The government should replace land price regulations by a land valuation formula that implementers can flexibly use in land-taking projects. Authority of district governments in issuing executive orders for executing land acquisition needs to be controlled. To minimize disputes over land-takings, instead of relying on propaganda and moral suasion, the government should provide landholders with clear information through group meetings that consist of affected landholders who share the same land claims.


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