A framework for analyzing social vulnerability is outlined, an aspect largely underemphasized in assessments of the impacts of climate change and climate extremes. Vulnerability is defined in this paper as the exposure of individuals or collective groups to livelihood stress as a result of the impacts of such environmental change. It is constituted by individual and collective aspects which can be disaggregated, but are linked through the political economy of markets and institutions. Research in coastal northern Vietnam shows that baseline social vulnerability is enhanced by some institutional and economic factors associated with Vietnam's economic transition from central planning, namely the breakdown of collective action on protection from extreme events and an increasingly skewed income. Offsetting these trends are other institutional changes associated with the dynamic nature of the economic restructuring and evolution of the market transition in Vietnam, which decrease vulnerability.
World Development – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 1999
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