We estimate the impact of an asset transfer program on household resilience. We measure resilience as the probability that a household will sustain at least the threshold asset level required to support consumption above the poverty line. Using six rounds of data collected over 42 months in rural Zambia, we construct a measure of resilience based on households’ conditional welfare distributions to estimate program impacts. We find that the program increased household resilience; beneficiaries’ likelihood of being non-poor in future periods increased by 44%. The program both increased mean assets and decreased variance, signaling an upward shift in households’ conditional asset distributions. Our method demonstrates the added value of the resilience estimation compared with a conventional impact assessment; numerous households classified as non-poor are unlikely to remain non-poor over time and the relationship between wealth and resilience is driven by changes in both the conditional mean and the conditional variance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-227
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Development Economics
StatePublished - May 2019


  • Asset transfers
  • Livestock
  • Poverty dynamics
  • Resilience

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Economics and Econometrics


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