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ABSTRACT 

Most studies that incorporate a gender dimension into the study of poverty or other development outcomes focus on the sex of the household head. This article argues that a headship analysis gives only a partial view of gender inequality since it does not take into account the position of women within male-headed households. Drawing primarily on the Living Standard Measurement Studies for Latin America and the Caribbean, the authors present 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 asset ownership within households suggest that the distribution of property by gender is more equitable than a headship analysis alone would imply. But the degree of gender inequality also varies according to the specific asset and among countries. Further comparative work on asset ownership requires attention to the marital regimes governing property rights in marriage. Finally, the authors suggest how household surveys could be improved by standardizing the collection of individual-level asset data across countries.