The varying income effects of weather variation: initial insights from rural Vietnam.
To estimate the impact of weather on rural income changes over time, this study combines data from the panel subsample of the latest Vietnam Household Living Standard Surveys 2010, 2012, and 2014 and gridded weather data from the Climate Research Unit. The analyses show: (i) crop cultivation, livestock management, forestry and fishing activities, and agricultural wages remain important income sources in rural Vietnam - especially for poorer households; (ii) rural communes are exposed to substantial inter- and intra-annual weather variation, as measured by annual, seasonal, abnormal, and extreme weather conditions and weather events; and (iii) these types of weather variation are indeed related to income variation. In particular, warmer temperatures and heat extremes can have negative income effects in all climate contexts and for all socioeconomic groups and most income activities. Only staple crops, forestry, and fishing seem to be less sensitive to hotter conditions. The effects of rainfall are more difficult to generalize. Some findings indicate that more rainfall is beneficial in drier places but harmful in wetter places. Interestingly, the incomes of poorer households seem to be negatively affected by wetter conditions, while those of wealthier households are more impacted by drier conditions. An increase in rainfall levels and flood conditions between 2012 and 2014, which were relatively wet years, is related to reduced income growth between these two years. Altogether these findings suggests that greater attention has to be paid to making rural livelihoods more resilient to weather variation which, is very likely to increase because of climate change.