Inverted base pavements are flexible pavement structures built by placing a top quality compacted granular aggregate base between a rigid cement-treated base and a thin-asphalt surface layer. The proximity of the granular base to the load makes its behaviour critical to the pavement response. Three-dimensional finite-element simulations are conducted to assess the mechanical performance of different inverted base pavement structures, with emphasis placed on pavements that feature thinasphalt surface layers. A nonlinear constitutive model captures the anisotropic stress-dependent stiffness of the granular base. Results show that the stress distribution within inverted base pavements is markedly different from that of conventional pavements due to the stiffness contrast between successive layers. Thin-asphalt layers deform more uniformly and experience lower tension than thick layers. However, in the presence of combined shear and vertical contact loads, the benefits of a membrane response in thin asphalt concrete layers may be overwhelmed by the increased tensile strain at the load edge. The transition from beam to membrane asphalt response depends on the relative stiffness between the asphalt layer and the aggregate base. In most cases, the transition takes place at an asphalt layer thickness between 25 mm and 50 mm.