Margaret Sherraden

Research Professor, Washington University in St. Louis
Chapter Member: Confluence SSN
Areas of Expertise:

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About Margaret

Sherraden’s scholarship focuses on household and community development. A leader in financial capability and asset building, she has published five books and numerous articles on advancing economic well-being. She led one of the 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative papers on Financial Capability and Asset Building for All. Sherraden is a faculty director at the Brown School’s Center for Social Development.

In addition, at the University of Missouri-St.Louis, Sherraden is Founder’s Professor of Social Work. She has taught for 25 years in the UMSL School of Social Work, where she also chaired the master’s program in social work. She is a former Fulbright Fellow and two-term president of the Missouri Association for Social Welfare. She serves on the St. Louis Federal Reserve's Community Development Advisory Council.

In the News

Quoted by Richard Mertens in "Need Emergency Cash? Payday Loans aren't Your Only Alternative," Christian Science Monitor, January 8, 2018.
Quoted by Stell Simonton in "Social Work Movement Seeks to Build Financial Capability, Scale up Best Practices for Youth," Youth Today, November 11, 2016.
Opinion: "Start Children Early for Financial Success," Margaret Sherraden (with Michal Grinstein-Weiss), Brookings, April 3, 2015.
Quoted by Leah Hamilton in "The Forgotten 1980s Rule that's Hurting Poor Families' Savings," The Atlantic, March 11, 2015.


"Financial Capability and Asset Building in Vulnerable Households" (with Julie Birkenmaier and J. Michael Collins) (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Focuses on financially vulnerable households. Promotes two unique conceptualizations: (1) financial capability depends not only on individual knowledge and behavior, but also on what is possible in the environment; and (2) it offers tools for practitioners for building assets in low-income households, beyond simply stabilizing income.

"Policy Recommendations for Meeting the Grand Challenge to Build Financial Capability and Assets for All ," (with Jin Huang, Margaret M. Clancy, Michael Sherraden, Julia Birkenmaier, Jodi J. Frey, Christine Callahan, and David Rothwell), Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative Policy, 2016.

Presents four recommendations for addressing the grand challenge of building financials capability and assets for all.

"Creating Financial Capability in the Next Generation: An Introduction to the Special Issue" (with Michal Grinstein-Weiss). Journal of Consumer Affairs 49, no. 1 (2015): 1-12.

 Presents a collection of studies that explore starting early to develop financial capability

"Financial Knowledge and Child Development Account Policy: A Test of Financial Capability" (with Jin Huang and Yunju Nam). Journal of Consumer Affairs 47, no. 1 (2012): 1-26.

Examines how study participants' financial knowledge and participation in a Child Development Account intervention affects 529 College Savings Plan account holding among caregivers of infants. 

"Financial Capability in Children: Effects of Participation in a School-Based Financial Education and Savings Program" (with Lissa Johnson, Baorong Guo, and William ElliottIII). Journal of Family and Economic Issues 32, no. 3 (2011): 385-399.

Examines an innovative four-year school-based financial education and savings program, called “I Can Save” (ICS). Suggest that young children increase financial capability when they have access to financial education and it is accompanied by participation in meaningful financial services.

"Striving to Save: Creating Policies for Financial Security of Low-Income Families" (with Amanda Moore McBride) (University of Michigan Press, 2010).

Examines experiences of 59 low-income families participating in a groundbreaking savings program. 

"Effects of International Volunteering and Service: Individual and Institutional Predictors" VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Nonprofit Organizations 19, no. 395 (2008).

Proposes a conceptual model for impact research of international volunteering and services.

"From Financial Literacy to Financial Capability among Youth" (with Elizabeth Johnson). Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare 34, no. 3 (2007).

Suggests, instead of aiming for financial literacy, aiming for financial capability is better for improving access to financial policies and services for economically disadvantaged youth.