Poverty Traps and Index-Based Risk Transfer Products

Barry J. Barnett, Christopher B. Barrett, Jerry R. Skees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

225 Scopus citations


A growing literature suggests that in low-income countries, households with few assets can be trapped in chronic poverty. This article reviews relevant threads of the poverty traps literature to motivate a description of the opportunities presented by innovative index-based risk transfer products. These products can be used to address some insurance and credit market failures that contribute to the persistence of poverty among households in low-income countries. Applications are considered at the micro, meso, and macro levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1766-1785
Number of pages20
JournalWorld Development
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2008


  • index-based risk transfer products
  • insurance
  • poverty traps
  • risk management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics


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