Institute for Social Development Studies

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Economic Costs of Disability-Related Stigma in Vietnam: Implications for Disability-Inclusive and Poverty Reduction Policies


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Time: 2010 – 2012

Donnor: AusAID

This project proposes a research to provide estimates of economic costs associated with disability-related stigma at individual and aggregate levels in Vietnam. Research data will be collected in eight provinces of high disability prevalence across the country. Findings of the research will be used to inform social policies and disability-inclusive programmes of the Vietnamese government, AusAID, and development community generally. Research capacity of the most relevant government organizations working on legislations and national programmes and of civil society organizations will be strengthened. The project will be supported technically by experts from the University of Melbourne.

The orienting hypothesis of this research project is that disability-related stigma has significant and measurable impacts at both micro and macro levels, and that these impacts can be addressed by social policy interventions. Key research questions include:

  1. What types of disability-related stigma are most likely to matter at the individual, household, and aggregate levels?
  2. How do these stimas affect the socioeconomic life chances of disabled people?
  3. What are the economic costs of these stigmas to individual, household and society?

Cost estimates will be made in three key domains of education, labour market, health and health care utilization.

Although the government has issued social policies and programmes to assist disabled people, so far its support remains charity-driven at the expense of a comprehensive approach that focuses on social inclusion and human development. One key reason of this neglect is the common view of disabled people as being 'abnormal', and stigma towards this population group in various forms has continued to prevent them to get equal access to economic, social and political opportunities as the others.

If stigma with respect to disability is not being effectively addressed, the benefits brought about by rapid economic development that Vietnam has experienced will not be shared by disabled people. It will also slow down the country's progress in achieving the main objectives of the CPRGS and the realization of the international Millennium Development Goals. In particularly, stigma will create serious obstacle to the implementation of the coming Laws on Disabled People and the National Action Plan to Support People with Disabilities.

The development goal of the project is to motivate the government and relevant stakeholders to be fully aware of the negative impacts of stigma in important socioeconomic domains, and on the well-being of disabled people. The best way to motivate the government to address stigma is to show stigma associated costs, and the benefits of having stigma eradication.

To AusAID priorities, the project is important as the research findings can be used to inform aid programmes that the Australian Government are providing to support Vietnam in its efforts towards disability-inclusive development.


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