I am a PhD student at the University of Hannover, Germany. I currently work at the Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade.

My research focuses on vulnerabiliy to poverty in Southeast Asia. I have worked on food security and Undernutrition in Cambodia and Lao PDR, the role of shocks and assets for the economic mobility of households in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand and Vietnam and female bargaining power in Vietnam.

I am part of the research project TVSEP - Thailand Vietnam Socio Economic Panel and conducted field work as well as data cleaning.

Besides my research I work as a Consultant for the World Bank with the Social Protection and Labor Practice.

Working Papers

Matching food security and malnutrition indicators: Evidence from Southeast Asia. [earlier version can be found here]
with Rebecca Hartje and Ulrike Grote

Abstract: This paper uses a novel data set of marginalized households from Cambodia and Lao PDR to better understand different food security concepts. The multitude of indicators available raises the question how these indicators relate to each other and whether they are suitable to detect undernutrition of individuals. In the analysis we identify the causes of food insecurity in relation to a number of different food security concepts and examine the links between the food security status of households and individuals using anthropometric data of children under five. The regression results show that the different indicators of food security at the household level capture fundamentally different aspects of food security. In addition, household food insecurity only explains a small share of child undernutrition. We call for more research on intra-household allocation of food and stress the implications of our research for the design and targeting of food and nutrition support programs.

Mother's money, child's opportunity: Evidence from intra-household allocation in Vietnam. [current version]                  
with Ulrike Grote

Abstract: According to their preferences, females are expected to behave more altruistic towards their children compared to men. However, their internal bargaining power might reduce their influence on spending for their preferred goods, such as child education and other child related expenditures. To date, most of the existing literature looks at permanent changes in unearned income to identify a causal effect of female bargaining power. However, female bargaining power should not only respond to changes in unearned income such as asset ownership, inheritance, or social security transfers, but also to changes in labor income. In this paper, we use an instrumental variables approach combined with panel data from Vietnam to solve the arising endogeneity issue to estimate female bargaining power via female labor income. To validate our findings we also use an alternative measure of female bargaining power based on financial decision making within the household. Our findings suggest that an increase in relative female labor income increases female bargaining power which leads to an increase in the share of expenditures devoted towards education. This effect appears to be stronger for female-headed households. Overall, our results show that households adjust their education expenditure to short-term fluctuations in female labor income. Thus, in addition to permanent changes in unearned income policies should strengthen female labor participation and related conditions to increase household investment into education.

Understanding vulnerability to poverty - How do shocks and assets influence economic mobility of rural households? [current version]
with Wendy Cunningham   

Abstract: Understanding how households from different economic groups are affected by adverse shocks and as a result move in and out of poverty over time is key to design better-targeted poverty reduction policies. We use a panel data set covering marginalized households in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Thailand, and Vietnam to assess the effect of shocks and assets on households’ economic mobility. Our results suggest that different types of shocks affect households across economic groups. While moderately poor households slide further into poverty when facing health shocks, natural shocks pose a threat to vulnerable and economically secure households to slide into poverty. Financial and physical capital are important factors for upward economic mobility for all groups. Similarly, human capital in terms of education has a positive effect on upward mobility. Household size is associated with downward mobility and persistence of poverty. The analysis shows that it is important to acknowledge the differential effects of shocks and assets for various economic groups throughout the region.

Nguyen, T.T., Do, T.L., Buehler, D., Hartje, R. and U. Grote. 2015. Rural Livelihoods and Environmental Resource Dependence in Cambodia. Ecological Economics, 120, pp: 282-295. [link]

Hartje, R., Buehler, D. and U. Grote. 2016. Food Security in Rural Cambodia and Fishing in the Mekong in the Light of Declining Fish Stocks. World Food Policy, 2(2)/3(1), pp. 5-31. [link]      

Buehler, D., Grote, U., Harjte, R., Ker, B., Do, T.L., Nguyen, L.D., Nguyen, T.T. and K. Tong. 2015. Rural Livelihood Strategies in Cambodia: Evidence from a household survey in Stung Treng. ZWF Working Paper 137. [link]        

Teaching Experience
Fall 2017 Lecture:         Data collection (Master course)
Spring 2017 Lecture:     Econometrics (Master course)

Fall 2016 Lecture:         Data collection (Master course)
Spring 2016 Lecture:     Econometrics (Master course)
Fall 2015 Lecture:         Data collection (Master course)
Spring 2015 Lecture:     Econometrics (Master course)     
Fall 2014 Lecture:         Data collection (Master course)