The Origins of Cultural Divergence: Evidence from Vietnam

81 Pages Posted: 7 Dec 2017 Last revised: 2 Jul 2020

See all articles by Hoang-Anh Ho

Hoang-Anh Ho

University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics

Ola Olsson

University of Gothenburg

Date Written: May 1, 2018

Abstract

Cultural norms diverge substantially across societies, often within the same country. We propose and investigate a self-domestication/selective migration hypothesis, proposing that cultural differences along the individualism-collectivism dimension are driven by the out-migration of individualistic people from collectivist core regions of states to peripheral frontier areas, and that such patterns of historical migration are reflected even in the current distribution of cultural norms. Gaining independence in 939 after about a thousand years of Chinese colonization, historical Vietnam emerged in the region that is now north Vietnam with a collectivist social organization. From the 11th to the 18th centuries, historical Vietnam gradually expanded its territory southward to the Mekong River Delta through various waves of conquest and migration. Using a household survey and a lab-in-the-field experiment, we demonstrate that areas annexed earlier to historical Vietnam are currently more prone to collectivist norms, and that these cultural norms are embodied in individual beliefs. Relying on many historical accounts, together with various robustness checks, we argue that the southward out-migration of individualistic people during the eight centuries of the territorial expansion is an important driver, among many others, of these cultural differences.

Keywords: Culture, Selective Migration, Vietnam

JEL Classification: N45, O53, Z1

Suggested Citation

Ho, Hoang-Anh and Martinsson, Peter and Olsson, Ola, The Origins of Cultural Divergence: Evidence from Vietnam (May 1, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3081930 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3081930

Hoang-Anh Ho

University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City ( email )

279 Nguyen Tri Phuong
District 10
Ho Chi Minh City, 70000
Vietnam

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/hahoeconomics/

Peter Martinsson

University of Gothenburg - Department of Economics and Statistics ( email )

Box 640
Vasagatan 1, E-building, floor 5 & 6
Göteborg, 40530
Sweden

Ola Olsson (Contact Author)

University of Gothenburg ( email )

Vasagatan 1
Goteborg, 405 30
Sweden

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/econolaols/home

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
125
Abstract Views
915
rank
272,537
PlumX Metrics