Asset Building Working Paper

Singapore’s Central Provident Fund: A National Policy of Life-Long Asset Accounts

Policymakers around the world have been attracted to the concept of integrating a consideration of assets into policy efforts aimed at securing and enhancing social welfare. The theory behind asset-based welfare policy suggests that while income facilitates immediate consumption, long-term social development occurs primarily through asset accumulation and investment (Sherraden, 1988, 1991). Assets may not only provide individuals with the ability to exert control over resources that can increase their financial security, they might also orient owners to future aspirations and be linked with positive economic, psychological, and social effects. To explore policy efforts consistent with this theory, Sherraden (1991) proposed the establishment of life-long asset accounts for each individual, preferably for newborns, as a vehicle to implement asset-based welfare policies. He further suggests that asset-based policy should be inclusive, progressive, and built around a single integrative and coherent framework (2003a).

Project: Global Assets Project


Loke, V., & Cramer, R. (2009). Singapore’s Central Provident Fund: A national policy of life-long asset accounts (New America Foundation Working Paper). Washington, DC: New America Foundation.