Portrait of the Poor. An Assets-Based Approach

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CODE: B-129
EDITOR(s): Attanasio, Orazio P. , Székely, Miguel
PUBLISHED: September 2002
RELATED TOPICS: Poverty Reduction and Labor



Portrait of the Poor examines poverty as a structural problem caused by the way economic systems operate. It poses a simple question: Why do poor people earn less? Case studies in Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Peru find the poor caught in a vicious circle. They lack sufficient access to education, credit and other means to generate income, so they earn lower wages, which in turn prevents them from accumulating the assets they need to increase future income. The authors analyze the ownership and use of income-generating assets, as well as access to them. Where there are market imperfections, they propose policies to ease the constraints faced by the poor in accumulating the human, physical and social capital they need to generate greater income.

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