Effects of Land Quality on Land Use: Farm-level Panel-data Evidence from Viet Nam

DOI 10.7160/aol.2022.140406
No 4/2022, December
pp. 67-84

Ngo, T. Q., Luu, K. D., Nguyen, D. N., Bui, T. X., Van, S. N. and Nguyen, K. T. (2022) "Effects of Land Quality on Land Use: Farm-level Panel-data Evidence from Viet Nam", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 14, No. 4, pp. 67-84. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2022.140406.


The sustainable livelihoods framework (SLF) is a comprehensive way to study agricultural issues. So far, to our best knowledge, no study has applied the SLF to examine the influence of land quality on land use intensively. The current research examines the effects of land quality on farmers’ decision-making on land use in Vietnam by modifying the sustainable livelihoods framework and using the fixed effects regression model. The method controlled the household and commune-level unobserved invariant characteristics and resulted in more robust estimates than pooled Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) estimation. The sample is a five-wave panel dataset of 2008-2016 with 1,534 farm households. The results reveal that land quality affects land-use choices through several aspects of land quality. More specifically, regarding topography, plot fertility level, plot locations, and soil and water conservation, results show that their effects reflect the cultivating practices for each land-use type in the sample. Findings also show that the irrigation system positively affects rice production in Vietnam. Policymakers should consider various aspects of land quality when designing policies and programs relating to land use, irrigation distribution, and especially the master plan for agricultural production and rural development. Flexible guidance for land uses of each type is closely connected with land quality in each region that may be most suitable for sustainable agriculture development.


Farming household, fixed-effects model, land quality, land use, panel data, Vietnam.


  1. Angelsen, A. and Kaimowitz, D. (2000) "Rethinking the causes of deforestation: lessons from economic models", National Bank News Review (Mumbai), Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 5-23. ISSN 0194-214X. DOI 10.1093/wbro/14.1.73.
  2. Angus, A., Burgess, P., Morris, J. and Lingard, J. (2009) "Agriculture and land use: Demand for and supply of agricultural commodities, characteristics of the farming and food industries, and implications for land use in the UK", Land Use Policy, Vol. 26, Suppl. 1, pp. S230-S242. ISSN 0264-8377. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.09.020.
  3. Apata, T., Ogunleye, K., Agboola, O. and Ojo, T. (2021) "Heterogeneity of Agricultural Land Use Systems and Poverty in Sub-Saharan Africa: Relationship and Evidence from Rural Nigeria", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 3-22. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2021.130201.
  4. Baird, T. D. and Gray, C. L. (2014) "Livelihood Diversification and Shifting Social Networks of Exchange: A Social Network Transition?", World Development, Vol. 60, pp. 14-30. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.02.002.
  5. Bezu, S., Barrett, C. B. and Holden, S. T. (2012) "Does the Nonfarm Economy Offer Pathways for Upward Mobility? Evidence from a Panel Data Study in Ethiopia", World Development, Vol. 40, No. 8, pp. 1634-1646. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.04.019.
  6. Bouma, J. (2002) "Land quality indicators of sustainable land management across scales", Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, Vol. 88, No. 2, pp. 129-136. ISSN 0167-8809. DOI 10.1016/S0167-8809(01)00248-1.
  7. Damon, C. (2010) "Selective schools and academic achievement", The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy, Vol. 10., No. 1., pp. 1-40. ISSN 1935-1682. DOI 10.2202/1935-1682.1917.
  8. De Janvry, A., Emerick, K., Gonzalez-Navarro, M. and Sadoulet, E. (2015) "Delinking land rights from land use: Certification and migration in Mexico", American Economic Review, Vol. 105, No. 10, pp. 3125-3149. ISSN 0002-8282. DOI 10.1257/aer.20130853.
  9. Doss, C., McPeak, J. and Barrett, C. B. (2008) "Interpersonal, intertemporal and spatial variation in risk perceptions: Evidence from East Africa", World Development, Vol. 36, No. 8, pp. 1453-1468. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2007.06.023.
  10. Eakin, H., DeFries, R., Kerr, S., Lambin, E. F., Liu, J., Marcotullio, P. J. and Swaffield, S. R. (2014) "Significance of telecoupling for exploration of land-use change", In Seto, K. C. and Reenberg, A. (Eds.), Rethinking global land use in an urban era, pp. 141-161, Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press. E-ISBN 978-0-262-32212-6. DOI 10.7551/mitpress/9780262026901.003.0008.
  11. Eckhardt, D. A. and Stackelberg, P. E. (1995) "Relation of ground‐water quality to land use on Long Island, New York", Groundwater, Vol. 33, No. 6, pp. 1019-1033. ISSN 0017-467X. DOI 10.1111/j.1745-6584.1995.tb00047.x..
  12. Forsyth, T. and Evans, N. (2013) "What is Autonomous Adaption? Resource Scarcity and Smallholder Agency in Thailand", World Development, Vol. 43, March 2013, pp. 56-66. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.11.010.
  13. Hamblin, A. (2009) "Policy directions for agricultural land use in Australia and other post-industrial economies", Land Use Policy, Vol. 26, No. 4, pp. 1195-1204. ISSN 0264-8377. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2009.01.002.
  14. Hardie, I. W. and Parks, P. J. (1997) "Land use with heterogeneous land quality: an application of an area base model", American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Vol. 79, No. 2, pp. 299-310. ISSN 0002-9092. DOI 10.2307/1244131.
  15. Hettig, E., Lay, J. and Sipangule, K. (2016) "Drivers of households’ land-use decisions: A critical review of micro-level studies in tropical regions", Land, Vol. 5, No. 4, pp. 32. ISSN 2073-445X. DOI 10.3390/land5040032.
  16. Honisch, M., Hellmeier, C. and Weiss, K. (2002) "Response of surface and subsurface water quality to land use changes", Geoderma, Vol. 105, No. 3-4, pp. 277-298. ISSN 0016-7061. DOI 10.1016/S0016-7061(01)00108-2.
  17. Kotykova, O. and Babych, M. (2021) "The Evaluation of Agricultural Land Use Sustainability in the Post-Socialist Camp Countries: Methodological and Practical Aspects", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 13, No. 2, pp. 59-78. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2021.130205.
  18. Kyeyune, V. and Turner, S. (2016) "Yielding to high yields? Critiquing food security definitions and policy implications for ethnic minority livelihoods in upland Vietnam", Geoforum, Vol. 71, May 2016, pp. 33-43. ISSN 0016-7185. DOI 10.1016/j.geoforum.2016.03.001.
  19. Lambin, E. F., Turner, B., Geist, H. J., Agbola, S. B., Angelsen, A., Bruce, J. W. and Folke, C. (2001) "The causes of land-use and land-cover change: moving beyond the myths", Global Environmental Change, Vol. 11, No. 4, pp. 261-269. ISSN 0959-3780. DOI 10.1016/S0959-3780(01)00007-3.
  20. Lehmann, N., Briner, S. and Finger, R. (2013) "The impact of climate and price risks on agricultural land use and crop management decisions", Land Use Policy, Vol. 35, November 2013, pp. 119-130. ISSN 0264-8377. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2013.05.008.
  21. Li, X. and Wang, X. (2003) "Changes in agricultural land use in China: 1981–2000", Asian Geographer, Vol. 22, No. 1-2, pp. 27-42. ISSN 1022-5706. DOI 10.1080/10225706.2003.9684097.
  22. Liu, J., Hull, V., Batistella, M., DeFries, R., Dietz, T., Fu, F. and Li, S. (2013) "Framing sustainability in a telecoupled world", Ecology and Society, Vol. 18, No. 2, 19 p. ISSN 1708-3087. DOI 10.5751/ES-05873-180226.
  23. Markussen, T. and Ngo, Q.-T. (2019) "Economic and non-economic returns to communist party membership in Vietnam", World Development, Vol. 122, October 2019, pp. 370-384. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2019.06.002.
  24. Markussen, T., Tarp, F. and Van Den Broeck, K. (2011) "The Forgotten Property Rights: Evidence on Land Use Rights in Vietnam", World Development, Vol. 39, No. 5, pp. 839-850. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2010.09.016.
  25. Marschke, M., Lykhim, O. and Kim, N. (2014) "Can local institutions help sustain livelihoods in an era of fish declines and persistent environmental change? A Cambodian case study", Sustainability, Vol. 6, No. 5, pp. 2490-2505. ISSN 2071-1050. DOI 10.3390/su6052490.
  26. McCord, P. F., Cox, M., Schmitt-Harsh, M. and Evans, T. (2015) "Crop diversification as a smallholder livelihood strategy within semi-arid agricultural systems near Mount Kenya", Land Use Policy, Vol. 42, January 2015, pp. 738-750. ISSN 0264-8377. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2014.10.012.
  27. Menkhoff, L. and Rungruxsirivorn, O. (2011) "Do Village Funds Improve Access to Finance? Evidence from Thailand", World Development, Vol. 39, No. 1, pp. 110-122. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2010.09.002.
  28. Miratori, K. and Brooks, A. (2015) "Good governance of rice field fishery management", Penang, Malaysia: World Fish. Program Brief, 19. [Online]. Available: http://pubs.iclarm.net/resource_centre/2015-19.pdf [Accessed: April 10, 2022].
  29. Ngo, Q.-T., Thai, T.-K. H., Cao, V.-T., Nguyen, A.-T., Hoang, N.-H. and Nguyen, N.-D. (2020) "Individuallevel Employment Transitions in Rural Viet Nam", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 73-91. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2020.120107.
  30. Nguyen, H.-R., Ngo, Q.-T. and Nguyen, N.-D. (2018) "Effects of Natural Disaster on Rice Production at Farm Level: New Evidence from Vietnam", AGRIS on-line Papers in Economics and Informatics, Vol. 10, No. 1, pp. 37-49. ISSN 1804-1930. DOI 10.7160/aol.2018.100104.
  31. Nguyen, T. T., Do, T. L., Bühler, D., Hartje, R. and Grote, U. (2015) "Rural livelihoods and environmental resource dependence in Cambodia", Ecological Economics, Vol. 120, December 2015, pp. 282-295. ISSN 0921-8009. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.11.001.
  32. Nguyen, T. T., Nguyen, L. D., Lippe, R. S. and Grote, U. (2017) "Determinants of farmers’ land use decision-making: Comparative evidence from Thailand and Vietnam", World Development, Vol. 89, January 2017, pp. 199-213. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.08.010.
  33. Nguyen, T. V. and Tran, T. Q. (2018) "Forestland and rural household livelihoods in the North Central Provinces, Vietnam", Land Use Policy, Vol. 79, December 2018, pp. 10-19. ISSN 0264-8377. DOI 10.1016/j.landusepol.2018.07.046.
  34. Podmanicky, L., Balázs, K., Belényesi, M., Centeri, C., Kristóf, D. and Kohlheb, N. (2011) "Modelling soil quality changes in Europe. An impact assessment of land use change on soil quality in Europe", Ecological Indicators, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 4-15. ISSN 1470-160X. DOI 10.1016/j.ecolind.2009.08.002.
  35. Povel, F. (2015) "Measuring exposure to downside risk with an application to Thailand and Vietnam", World Development, Vol. 71, pp. 4-24. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.11.006.
  36. Pretty, J. and Ward, H. (2001) "Social Capital and the Environment", World Development, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 209-227. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/S0305-750X(00)00098-X.
  37. Rabbinge, R. and Van Latesteijn, H. (1992) "Long-term options for land use in the European Community", Agricultural Systems, Vol. 40, No. 1-3, pp. 195-210. ISSN 0308-521X. DOI 10.1016/0308-521X(92)90021-F.
  38. Rigg, J., Salamanca, A. and Parnwell, M. (2012) "Joining the Dots of Agrarian Change in Asia: A 25 Year View from Thailand", World Development, Vol. 40, No. 7, pp. 1469-1481. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2012.03.001.
  39. Salvati, L. (2010) "Exploring the relationship between agricultural productivity and land degradation in a dry region of Southern Europe", New Medit: Mediterranean Journal of Economics, Agriculture and Environment, Vol. 9, No.1, pp. 35-40. ISSN 1594-5685/1120-6403.
  40. Scoones, I. (1998) "Sustainable Rural Livelihoods: A Framework for Analysis", IDS working paper, Iss. 72, Institute of Development Studies. ISBN 1 85964 224 8.
  41. Tanrivermis, H. (2003) "Agricultural land use change and sustainable use of land resources in the Mediterranean region of Turkey", Journal of Arid Environments, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp. 553-564. ISSN 0140-1963. DOI 10.1006/jare.2002.1078..
  42. Thulstrup, A. W. (2015) "Livelihood resilience and adaptive capacity: Tracing changes in household access to capital in Central Vietnam", World Development, Vol. 74, October 2015, pp. 352-362. ISSN 0305-750X. DOI 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.05.019.
  43. Tong, S. T. and Chen, W. (2002) "Modeling the relationship between land use and surface water quality", Journal of Environmental Management, Vol. 4, No. 66, pp. 377-393. ISSN 0301-4797. DOI 10.1006/jema.2002.0593.
  44. Witcover, J., Vosti, S. A., Carpentier, C. L. and Gomes, T. C. D. A. (2006) "Impacts of soil quality differences on deforestation, use of cleared land, and farm income", Environment and Development Economics, Vol. 11, No. 3, pp. 343-370. E-ISSN 1469-4395, ISSN 1355-770X. DOI 10.1017/S1355770X0600283X.
  45. Woli, K. P., Nagumo, T., Kuramochi, K. and Hatano, R. (2004) "Evaluating river water quality through land use analysis and N budget approaches in livestock farming areas", Science of the Total Environment, Vol. 329, No. 1-3, pp. 61-74. ISSN 0048-9697. DOI 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2004.03.006.
  46. Xu, X., Guo, H., Chen, X., Lin, H. and Du, Q. (2002) "A multi-scale study on land use and land cover quality change: the case of the Yellow River Delta in China", GeoJournal, Vol. 56, No. 3, pp. 177-183. ISSN 1572-9893. DOI 10.1023/A:1025175409094.
  47. Yan, H., Liu, J., Huang, H., Tao, B. and Cao, M. (2009) "Assessing the consequence of land use change on agricultural productivity in China", Global and Planetary Change, Vol. 67, No. 1/2, pp. 13-19. ISSN 0921-8181. DOI 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2008.12.012.
  48. Zander, P. and Kächele, H. (1999) "Modelling multiple objectives of land use for sustainable development", Agricultural systems, Vol. 59, No. 3, pp. 311-325. ISSN 0308-521X. DOI 10.1016/S0308-521X(99)00017-7.
  49. Zambon, I., Colantoni, A., Carlucci, M., Morrow, N., Sateriano, A. and Salvati, L. (2017) "Land quality, sustainable development and environmental degradation in agricultural districts: A computational approach based on entropy indexes", Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Vol. 64, May 2017, pp. 37-46. ISSN 0195-9255. DOI 10.1016/j.eiar.2017.01.003.

Full paper

  Full paper (.pdf, 1.2 MB).