Hege Merete Knutsen is professor in Human Geography, Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo. She has been deputy head of the Department; head of research in Human Geography; and head of the multidisciplinary BA-programme in development studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences. She works in the fields of Economic Geography (political economy), labour and development and has research and fieldwork experiences from a number of countries in the Global South and Global North. The EU and the Research Council of Norway are among her previous sources of funding. Among other, she is co-author of the book Missing Links in Labour Geography.

Summary of Project:

Understanding the ‘socialist market economy’: State-owned enterprises (SOE) in Vietnam and new efforts of reforms

What does the new phase of SOE reforms starting around 2016 tell us about economic and institutional transformations and contradictions in Vietnam? The objective of this study is to shed light on contradictions between the Vietnamese socialist ideology and the market imperative and international pressure that the Vietnamese economy is subject to as a global player. We look into what characterizes the new phase of SOE reforms, what is new about the context that  the reforms are implemented in , what is considered  ‘acceptable’ and  ‘successful’ by whom and  what are the possibilities and  constraints to such reforms.  After a brief account of  previous SOE reforms we delve into how stakeholders such as the government, industry and labour plan for, perceive and experience the new round of  reforms, and how  the new phase of reform  is addressed in mass media.  We use the case study as research strategy and combine semi-structured interviews with secondary data such as public reports and statistics.

(Photo: Vietnam to divest state-owned breweries and dairy production)