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Michael Sherraden

George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor
Director, Center for Social Development
PhD, University of Michigan
Michael Sharraden

Phone: (314) 935-6691


Research interests:

Asset building

Civic engagement and civic service

Productive aging

Social policy

Community development

Youth development​​


Michael Sherraden, PhD, is the George Warren Brown Distinguished University Professor and founding director of the Center for Social Development (CSD) at Washington University. CSD creates and tests innovations to improve social and economic well-being and uses research results to inform public policy.

Sherraden is the author of Assets and the Poor (1991), which proposes Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), matched savings to enable low-income families to accumulate assets. Additional research on asset building appears in Inclusion in the American Dream (2005), Can the Poor Save? (2007), and Saving in Low-Income Families (2008). IDAs have been adopted in federal and state legislation in the US and in many other countries. An IDA program in Seoul—known as “Hope Development Accounts”—won a United Nations Public Service Award in 2010. Currently, CSD is undertaking a large experimental test of Child Development Accounts (universal and progressive accounts at birth) in the state of Oklahoma, and research on youth savings is underway in Colombia, Ghana, Kenya, and Nepal.

In another areas of work, Sherraden’s early research on civic service—National Service (1982) and The Moral Equivalent of War? (1990)—contributed to the creation of AmeriCorps in 1993, and CSD is today a leading center of research on civic service, especially international service (Civic Service Worldwide, 2007). Also, CSD has initiated research on Productive Aging with Productive Aging: Concepts and Challenges (2001) and sponsored major conferences with additional book publications in the US and China.

Sherraden was educated at Harvard and the University of Michigan. In 2010, he was listed by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. He is married to Margaret Sherraden, a collaborator on many studies at CSD.


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