Financial Inclusion Global Asset Building Working Paper

International Child Development Accounts

This Working Paper discusses efforts to implement Child Development Accounts in the United States and numerous other countries. Child Development Accounts (CDAs) are subsidized savings or investment accounts to help people accumulate assets for developmental purposes and life course needs. They are envisioned as universal (everyone participates), progressive (greater subsidies for the poor), and potentially lifelong national policy. These features distinguish CDAs from most existing asset-building policies and programs around the world, which are typically regressive, giving greater benefits to the well-off. With policy innovation in recent years, several countries now have national CDA policies, and four states in the United States have statewide programs. Some of these are designed to be universal and progressive. Evidence indicates that true universality can be achieved, but only with automatic account opening and automatic deposits. In the absence of automatic features, advantaged families participate and benefit more. Today, momentum for universal and automatic features is gradually gaining traction and accelerating. At this stage in the emergence of inclusive asset-based policy, this is the most important development.

Subsequent publication: Sherraden, M., Cheng, L.-C., Ssewamala, F., Kim, Y., Loke, V., Zou, L., … Han, C.-K. (2018, July 30). International Child Development Accounts. In C. Franklin et al. (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Social Work. doi:10.1093/acrefore/9780199975839.013.1261


Sherraden, M., Cheng, L.-C., Ssewamala, F. M., Kim, Y., Loke, V., Zou, L., … Han, C.-K. (2016). International Child Development Accounts (CSD Working Paper No. 16-48). St. Louis, MO: Washington University, Center for Social Development.