Index > Research themes > Assets & Inequality

CPRC Research themes

Assets are vital to reducing vulnerability. Accumulating assets can improve livelihoods and gradually help people out of poverty. Those who lose assets may be pushed into poverty, and those with few assets to begin with may be caught in a poverty trap.


CPRC research has shown significant evidence of the importance of asset accumulation in enabling escapes from poverty, including intergenerationally transmitted poverty. The loss of assets is a major factor associated with descent into poverty, with the strongest evidence for this relating to diverse health shocks. 

Work on asets has focused on isolated rural areas where lack of access to markets and services may create ‘low return’ poverty traps. Work in Bangladesh and in forest areas in Bolivia have looked at evidence for the existence of poverty traps in rural areas.

Key messages resulting from asssets research importantly show that having the right complementary assets, a somewhat diversified portfolio, an enabling policy and market context, and the right social, economic and political relationships are all necessary if assets are to provide a pathway out of poverty. In particular, assets need to function together with markets to enable escape from poverty. 


Assets and chronic poverty

Assets and poverty traps

Intergenerational poverty and assets

View more resources on Assets and on Intergenerational transmission of poverty.



Theme leader

Andrew McKay

Department of Econmics, University of Sussex

Tel: 44 (0) 1273 678889
Fax: 44 (0) 1273 673563