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Poverty, Headship, and Gender Inequality in Asset Ownership in Latin America.

by Carmen Diana Deere, Gina E. Alvarado y Jennifer Twyman
(published in 2016-02-17 by carlos armando Popoca Bermudez)

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Documento de trabajo

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Deere, Carmen, Gina Alvarado y Jennifer Twyman. “Poverty, Headship and Gender Inequality in Asset Ownership in Latin America”. En Documento de Trabajo de Gender, Development and Globalization Program, Michigan State University, forthcoming, 2010.

Drawing on the recent Living Standard Measurement Studies for Latin America and the Caribbean, this paper presents baseline indicators of the degree of gender inequality in asset ownership for the eleven countries in the region that have collected individual-level data on asset ownership. Disaggregated data on housing ownership suggests that the distribution of asset ownership by gender within households is much more equitable than a headship analysis would suggest. The gender wealth gap is calculated for the only country for which data on a sufficient number of assets and their valuation is available. The authors estimate that in Nicaragua women own from 36 to 41 percent of household physical wealth. In contrast, if the analysis of household wealth were conducted by sex of the head, femaleheaded households would own only between 20 and 23 percent of household wealth, significantly less than the share of female-headed households in that country. This different vision of relative female poverty is largely due to the fact that women in male-headed households often own property, either in their own right or as joint property with their spouses. The authors conclude with recommendations on how individual-level data on asset ownership might be improved in support of gender analysis.

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