The Influence of Household Refrigerator Ownership on Diets in Vietnam
Refrigerator ownership accompanies socio-economic development, with the potential to change human diets. Household refrigerator ownership in Vietnam has increased from 13% to 59% between 2004-2014. This study estimates changes in food consumption and diet linkages with household refrigerator ownership in Vietnam, while controlling for socioeconomic variables. We use a two-step instrumental variable regression model on two panels of the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey covering 2004-2014. Our study finds refrigerator ownership to be significantly associated with decreases in per-capita calorie intake over both periods. Refrigerator ownership may be connected with households substituting lower-nutrient foods with higher ones, with substantial decreases in starchy staple food consumption connected with refrigerator ownership in both panels. For both periods, refrigerator ownership is significantly connected with increased dairy consumption, potentially reflecting the refrigerator increasing a household’s ability to store dairy products.