Social Safety Nets, Public Works and Employment in the Infrastructure and Construction Sectors, Vietnam

VIE/98/039/08/11 Social Safety Net Study

Governments of all persuasions use Public Works Programmes involving the construction of public service infrastructure in times of economic hardship to assist the poor and socially disadvantaged. Arguably the greatest example of this technique was during the “great depression” in the USA where the construction of roads, dams and public works was used to reduce catastrophic levels of unemployment. While no longer considered by western economists the answer to economic grief because of the relatively high wage costs in developed countries, it nevertheless remains one important way of fashioning a “social safety net” in developing countries for those in need while at the same time building important public service infrastructure.
This report is related to the Infrastructure Sector and addresses the public sector infrastructure construction in Vietnam, the employment opportunities labour-based construction can deliver and the necessary institutional structures required to do it. It examines how labour-based works could be used to act as poverty alleviation relief works by providing not only short term, but even more importantly long term, sustainable employment. Based on field visits, interviews and a consideration of all these issues a preliminary employment generation strategy has been prepared as part of an overall study on Social Safety Nets for Vulnerable Groups (SPPD Study, VIE/98/039/08/11).