Did program support for the poorest areas work? Evidence from rural Vietnam

Crawford School of Public Policy | Arndt-Corden Department of Economics

Event details

ACDE Seminar

Date & time

Tuesday 02 April 2024
11.00am–12.30pm

Venue

Online Zoom

Speaker

Hai-Anh H. Dang, World Bank

This study examines the impact of a large-scale poverty alleviation program targeted at 62 of the poorest districts in Vietnam. We use a regression discontinuity design with district fixed effects and household survey data spanning the past 20 years. Overall, we do not find significant effects of the program on household welfare measured by per capita income, poverty, and local nighttime light intensity. However, we find that the program facilitates a shift among rural individuals from farm to nonfarm employment. The share of nonfarm income is also significantly increased by the program. One possible explanation for the positive effect on nonfarm employment is the improved access to credit that the program provides to participating households. We find that the program increases healthcare utilization of people, possibly through improving healthcare centers at the commune level. We do not find any significant effect of the program on children’s educational attainment. Nevertheless, the program does enhance the availability of educational subsidies for students residing in the program districts.

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