Measuring poverty has occupied a lot of space in the development discourse. Over the years a number of approaches have been offered to capture the experience of what it means to be poor. However, latterly such approaches often ignore core assets. Indeed, the comparative impact of livestock vs. other core assets such as land and education on poverty has not been well explored. Therefore, the authors created an 'asset impact model' to examine changes to both tangible and intangible assets at the household level, with a particular focus on gender and ethnicity among communities residing in the Bolivian Altiplano. The simple model illustrates that for indigenous women, a 20 per cent increase in the livestock herd has the same impact on household income as increasing the education levels by 20 per cent and household land ownership by 5 per cent. The study illustrates the potential role of a productive, tangible asset, i.e. livestock, on poverty reduction in the short term. The policy implications of supporting asset-focused measures of poverty are discussed.