Publication Date



This Working Paper has been submitted for inclusion in theEncyclopedia of Social Work's new online edition, which is published by Oxford University Press. Since 1991, a new policy discussion has arisen in the United States and other countries, focusing on building assets as a complement to traditional social policy based on income. In fact, asset-based policy already existed (and still exists) in the United States, with large public subsidies. But the policy is regressive, benefiting the rich far more than the poor. The goal should be a universal, progressive, and lifelong asset-based policy. One promising pathway may be Child Development Accounts beginning at birth, with greater public deposits for the poorest children. If all children had an account, then eventually this could grow into a universal public policy across the life course.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion


Asset Building


Subsequent publication: Sherraden, M., Johnsson, L., Clancy, M. M., Beverly, S. G., Sherraden, M. S., Schreiner, M., … Ha, C.-K. (2018). Asset building toward inclusive policy. In C. Franklin (Ed.), Encyclopedia of social work. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.25

Original Citation

Sherraden, M., Johnson, L., Clancy, M., Beverly, S. G., Sherraden, M., Schreiner, M., … Han, C.-K. (2016). Asset building: Toward inclusive policy (CSD Working Paper No. 16-49). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


Global Assets Project


asset building, asset accumulation, asset holding, asset ownership, assets, CDA, child development account, well-being, individual development account, saving, savings, social policy, wealth