Is Poverty Incompatible with Asset Accumulation?

Research Report

Is Poverty Incompatible with Asset Accumulation?

Abstract

Is poverty incompatible with asset accumulation? We examine whether the poor can and do save and whether they are able to build up assets over time. Data are presented from household surveys, as well as from programs targeted at helping families accumulate assets. Presenting and evaluating the state of knowledge provides a new lens on whether the current income-based safety net could better serve poor families by having an asset building component. Conventional thinking is that families that are income poor cannot save. This chapter shows that this thinking is inaccurate; poverty does not have to be incompatible with asset accumulation.

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