Date of Award

Summer 8-17-2018

Level of Access Assigned by Author

Open-Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Xuan Chen

Second Committee Member

Keith Evans

Third Committee Member

Angela Daley


By employing data from Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys (VHLSS) and weather data from different sources, this thesis aims to fill the gaps in the literature on off-farm labor supply, health effect of pesticide use and the economic returns to communist party membership in Vietnam.

This thesis consists of four chapters. The first chapter provides a brief introduction. The second chapter considers the effect of weather on the risk perception of farmers in Vietnam by examining labor allocation decision and its effect on household income. I started by building a theoretical framework with the assumption that off-farm wage per hour is fixed and there is a risk factor in the farm production. As the result, the model shows that the farming risk pushes farmers to allocate more time for the off-farm sector in order to cope with the farming risk. On the other hand, higher marginal revenue of farm production increases the amount of time working in agricultural sector.

However, the question of whether off-farm participation betters farmers cannot be answered theoretically. With data from VHLSS and weather data from the Vietnamese Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development and, I attempt to answer this question by using a Heckman correction model. Results from the econometric model show that weather affects the off-farm participation decision of agricultural households and off-farm participation associates with higher household income. In addition, long-term climate patterns show stronger effects than short-term ones on the labor allocation decision. I also found that distance to town center reduces the possibility of off-farm participation and reduces income.

The third chapter focuses on the relationship between pesticide use and health burden of farmers in Vietnam. By using the number of hospital visits and health expenditure as a proxy for health status, we found that lagged pesticide use associates with the increasing needs of medical services. Particularly, lagged pesticide uses for rice and industrial crops have the strongest effects on the health status of farmers. This is one of the most recent attempts to examine the association between pesticide use and health burden on farmers in Vietnam. In the near future, I would like to work more on confirming the causal effect of pesticide use on the health status of farmers with better data.

Chapter 4 concludes.