Can the Poor Save?: Saving and Asset Building in Individual Development Accounts by Michael Sherraden

Can the Poor Save?: Saving and Asset Building in Individual Development Accounts

byMichael Sherraden

Paperback | December 15, 2005

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Many policymakers argue that the best poverty policy not only provides cash to the poor for subsistence but also incentives and structures that encourage long-term social and economic improvement. As part of this, they make the case for Individual Development Accounts (IDAs), a new policy proposal designed to help the poor save and to build assets. This book explores IDAs to determine their effectiveness.

IDAs are matched savings accounts targeted on low-income, low-wealth individuals. Savings in IDAs are used for home ownership, post-secondary education, small business development, and other purposes. Do IDAs work? If they do, for whom? And does how an IDA is designed determine savings outcomes? This volume is the first analysis of matched savings by the poor to use data from monthly bank statements. It comes at a critical time, as debate rages over the merits of individual social security accounts. IDAs also respond to policy that is becoming more asset based and less inclusive of the poor. The authors argue for the efficacy of IDAs to counter this tendency. They find that while savings outcomes vary among participants, no characteristics (such as low income or public assistance) preclude saving. They examine effects of IDA design (the match rate, savings targets, and the use of automatic transfer) on savings results and analyze factors that influence varying rates of saving and spending over time. They conclude that financial education and other support services, though costly, improve savings performance. To address the issue of cost they suggest a two-tier system of IDA design, one with broad access and simple services and the other with targeted access and intensive services.

Can the Poor Save? offers a wealth of lessons to those interested in saving and asset accumulation among the poor. It not only breaks new ground in the scientific study of savings behavior, but also offers concrete, evidence-based recommendations to improve policies designed to encourage the poor to save and how to make such policies more inclusive.

About The Author

Mark Schreiner is a senior scholar in the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis and also director of Microfinance Risk Management. Michael Sherraden is the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development and director of the Center for Social Development, George Warren Brown School of Social Work...
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Details & Specs

Title:Can the Poor Save?: Saving and Asset Building in Individual Development AccountsFormat:PaperbackDimensions:385 pages, 9.07 × 6 × 0.91 inPublished:December 15, 2005Publisher:Taylor and FrancisLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0202308391

ISBN - 13:9780202308395

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Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgements
1. Why Saving and Asset Accumulation by the Poor?
2. A Theory of Saving and Asset Building by the Poor in IDAs
3. The American Dream Demonstration
4. Participants in ADD
5. Savings Outcomes in ADD
6. IDA Design, Program Structure, and IDA Savings Outcomes
7. Participant Characteristics and Savings Outcomes
8. Toward Inclusion in Asset-Based Policy
References
Index