Can Households Cope with Health Shocks in Vietnam?

Health Econ. (2015)

20 Pages Posted: 1 Jun 2015

See all articles by Sophie Mitra

Sophie Mitra

Fordham University

Michael Palmer

University of Melbourne

Daniel Mont

World Bank

Nora Groce

University College London

Date Written: May 31, 2015


This paper investigates the economic impact of health shocks for working age adults in Vietnam during 2004-08, using a fixed effect specification. Health shocks cover disability and morbidity and are measured by ‘days unable to carry out regular activity’, ‘days in bed due to illness/injury’, and ‘hospitalisation’. Overall, Vietnamese households are able to smooth total non-health expenditures in the short run in the face of a significant rise in out of pocket health expenditures. However, this is accomplished through vulnerability-enhancing mechanisms, especially in rural areas, including increased loans and asset sales, and decreased education expenditures. Female-headed and rural households are found to be least able to protect consumption. Results highlight the need to extend and deepen social protection and universal health coverage.

Keywords: health shocks; disability; morbidity; coping mechanisms; expenditures; Vietnam

JEL Classification: C23, I12

Suggested Citation

Mitra, Sophie and Palmer, Michael and Mont, Daniel and Groce, Nora, Can Households Cope with Health Shocks in Vietnam? (May 31, 2015). Health Econ. (2015). Available at SSRN:

Sophie Mitra (Contact Author)

Fordham University ( email )

441 East Fordham road
Bronx, NY 10458
United States


Michael Palmer

University of Melbourne ( email )

185 Pelham Street
Carlton, Victoria 3053

Daniel Mont

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Nora Groce

University College London ( email )

Gower Street
London, WC1E 6BT
United Kingdom

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics