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Income Shocks and Household Risk-Coping Strategies: Evidence from Rural Vietnam

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  • Carol Newman

    ()
    (Institute for International Integration Studies, Trinity College Dublin; Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)

  • Fiona Wainwright

    ()
    (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)

Abstract

This paper considers the various strategies rural households employ to avoid consumption shortfalls caused by realizations of adverse income shocks. First, we develop an ex post theoretical model within an inter-temporal utility maximizing framework which we use to explain households’ decisions to insure against idiosyncratic risk and save to protect against uninsurable spatially covariant risk. In the theoretical model we show that the latter can take a variety of different asset forms depending on the absolute level of risk aversion of the household and the variability in asset returns. Second, using household level panel data from Vietnam we test the extent to which households’ smooth consumption over time and how this depends on the presence of insurance and saving instruments. Third, we consider savings and liquid asset holdings as a form of self-insurance or precautionary savings against spatially covariant shocks. Overall, our results suggest that households deplete their stock of total liquid assets in the event of exposure to both exogenous and idiosyncratic income shocks. The ability of households to cope is also dependent on their receipt of public and private transfers in the event of an exogenous natural shock with insurance claims serving to alleviate the depletion of livestock holdings in the event of insurable idiosyncratic income shocks. These results are particularly pronounced for low and middle wealth groups.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by IIIS in its series The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series with number iiisdp358.

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Length: 38 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp358

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Keywords: Insurance; precautionary savings; risk-coping; income shocks;

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  1. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2007:i:23:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Luigi Ventura, 2007. "A note on the relevance of prudence in precautionary saving," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(23), pages 1-11.
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Cited by:
  1. Newman, Carol & Tarp, Finn & Van Den Broeck, Katleen, 2012. "Social Capital, Network Effects and Savings in Rural Vietnam," Working Paper Series UNU-WIDER Research Paper , World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
  2. Anh Duc Dang, 2012. "On the Sources of Risk Preferences in Rural Vietnam," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2012-593, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.

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