James Midgley

Publication Date



This paper was commissioned for Inclusion in Asset Building: Research and Policy Symposium, an event hosted in September 2000 by the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis. The paper seeks to broaden understanding of asset programs by linking them to the normative perspectives of contemporary social welfare theory. These normative perspectives have been formulated by academics and social policy analysts in an attempt to capture and interpret the complexities of current social welfare realities. Although they invoke ideological preferences, these normative preferences are subsumed under the abstract formulations of normative theory. They reflect diverse beliefs about the role of government, the market, individual responsibility, and other institutions in social welfare. While some of these normative perspectives have been adequately documented in the literature, others are less well known. Nevertheless, they challenge previously accepted social policy models and offer conceptually compelling opportunities for redirecting social policy thinking.

Document Type

Working Paper


Financial Inclusion

Original Citation

Midgley, J. (2000). Assets in context of welfare theory: A developmentalist interpretation (CSD Working Paper No. 00-4). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.


Inclusion in Asset Building: Research and Policy Symposium


Symposium, assets, theory