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Social embedding as a solution to a control problem? Evidence from Vietnamese small business* - page 24 / 52





24 / 52

no schooling at all to 18 and 17 years, respectively. Their work experience was

approximately equally divided among their own enterprise and other employers – which were

largely other private sector employers. Only about one-fifth of the owners (but 40 percent of

those in Hanoi) were employed by state-owned enterprises immediately previous to their

setting up their business. Almost two-thirds of the owners (but significantly fewer of the

spouses) felt that past work experience benefitted the business, so that the businesses often

represented an accumulation of human capital. Experience in state-owned enterprises was

seen as significantly less beneficial than experience in cooperatives and private enterprise.

Approximately 70 percent of those interviewed claimed that experience in their own business

was the most important source of skill. Although the technology in these businesses was

generally simple, when asked about the most important skill needed in their business, a

response indicating technical, rather than social or financial, skill was common. Female-

owned businesses were slightly smaller and slightly younger, on average, than male-owned

businesses but further differences were slight. Our finding differs from several other studies,

including one of our own, perhaps because of the minimum employment requirement.

(Table Two about here)

Seventy percent of the spouses worked in the business as did all but 12 of the owners.

Apparently some of the owners felt their task was to carry responsibility rather than to labor.

Approximately two-thirds of the 178 husbands worked in their wive’s business while three-

fourths of the 208 wives worked in their husband’s business. Owners who did so spent an

average of 53.7 hours working in the business each week while spouses spent an average of

48.2 hours working. Men worked approximately five and a half fewer hours then women, on

average, so that the women owners put in an average of 55.6 hours while their husbands who

worked in the business did so an average of 42.1 hours per week. Few of the owners or


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