TIME magazine has named Michael Sherraden, PhD, the Benjamin E. Youngdahl Professor of Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world.
Sherraden, the founder and director of the Brown School’s Center for Social Development (CSD), is known for his pioneering work on asset building for low-income people.
“The TIME 100 recognition is a huge surprise,” he says. “So many people could be — and deserve to be — recognized for their creative and productive work, so I feel very fortunate to be selected.
“The work that is being recognized has resulted from the talents and strong commitment of a large team of people at Washington University and relationships with dozens of partner organizations across the country and around the world.
“This TIME 100 award belongs to the talented staff, faculty and graduate students associated with the Center for Social Development,” Sherraden says.
In his 1991 book, Assets and the Poor: A New American Welfare Policy, Sherraden proposed establishing individual savings accounts for the poor — also known as Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). His program calls for the government and private sector to match individual contributions to IDAs as a means of encouraging savings and breaking the cycle of poverty. IDAs have been adopted in federal legislation and in more than 40 states.
Research results from the American Dream Demonstration, a large, eight-year CSD research project to test IDAs, were instrumental in the design of Universal Savings Accounts, a 1999 proposal by President Bill Clinton that would enable all working people to have a 401(k) retirement plan.
Sherraden’s work on assets has influenced policy development in the United Kingdom, Taiwan, Canada, Indonesia and other countries. In the United Kingdom, as of 2005, all newborns are given an account at birth, with a larger initial deposit into the accounts of children in low-income families.
CSD is now testing universal children’s savings accounts in a project known as Saving for Education, Entrepreneurship and Downpayment (SEED).
Sherraden has served as an adviser and consultant to the White House, Department of the Treasury, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, the Carnegie Council and many other organizations.
In addition to his asset-building research, Sherraden’s scholarship also focuses on civic service and productive aging.
The TIME 100 list, now in its seventh year, recognizes the activism, innovation and achievement of the world’s most influential individuals.
Says TIME Managing Editor Rick Stengel of the list: “The TIME 100 is not a list of the most powerful people in the world, it’s not a list of the smartest people in the world, it’s a list of the most influential people in the world. They’re scientists, they’re thinkers, they’re philosophers, they’re leaders, they’re icons, they’re artists, they’re visionaries. People who are using their ideas, their visions, their actions to transform the world and have an effect on a multitude of people.”
The full list and related tributes appear in the May 10 issue of TIME, available on newsstands Friday, April 30, and now at time.com.