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


  • Carol Newman

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

  • Fiona Wainwright

    () (Department of Economics, Trinity College Dublin)


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.

Suggested Citation

  • Carol Newman & Fiona Wainwright, 2011. "Income Shocks and Household Risk-Coping Strategies: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," The Institute for International Integration Studies Discussion Paper Series iiisdp358, IIIS.
  • Handle: RePEc:iis:dispap:iiisdp358

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Luigi Ventura, 2007. "A note on the relevance of prudence in precautionary saving," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 4(23), pages 1-11.
    2. repec:ebl:ecbull:v:4:y:2007:i:23:p:1-11 is not listed on IDEAS
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    Cited by:

    1. Carol Newman & Finn Tarp & Katleen Van Den Broeck, 2014. "Social Capital, Network Effects, and Savings in Rural Vietnam," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 60(1), pages 79-99, March.
    2. Arouri, Mohamed & Nguyen, Cuong & Youssef, Adel Ben, 2015. "Natural Disasters, Household Welfare, and Resilience: Evidence from Rural Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 59-77.
    3. repec:bla:asiaec:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:139-164 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Murata, Akira & Miyazaki, Suguru, 2014. "Ex-post Risk Management Among Rural Filipino Farm Households," Working Papers 67, JICA Research Institute.
    5. Anton Parlow, 2016. "State and Development: Child Mortality and the War on Terror: Afghanistan from 2007 to 2010," HiCN Working Papers 220, Households in Conflict Network.
    6. 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.
    7. Tran, Van Q., 2015. "Household's coping strategies and recoveries from shocks in Vietnam," The Quarterly Review of Economics and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 56(C), pages 15-29.
    8. Nguyen, Loc Duc & Raabe, Katharina & Grote, Ulrike, 2015. "Rural–Urban Migration, Household Vulnerability, and Welfare in Vietnam," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 71(C), pages 79-93.

    More about this item


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

    JEL classification:

    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O16 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Financial Markets; Saving and Capital Investment; Corporate Finance and Governance

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