The publication and adoption of ADB’s Social Protection Strategy in 2001, along with the social protection (SP) strategies adopted by other international organizations and bilateral donors, heralded a growing recognition that the Millennium Development Goals for poverty reduction cannot be achieved purely through the promotion of economic growth and the development of physical and social infrastructure. Interventions are also necessary to address the needs of the poorest and to prevent members of vulnerable groups from falling into poverty following community-wide or household-specific shocks. Until then, few attempts had been made to date to comprehensively assess SP programs in developing countries and quantify the impact of SP activities.
The International Social Security Association maintains a database with basic information on formal social security schemes, and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched in 2003 the Social Security Inquiry, which provides national and scheme-level administrative data on social security
around the world through a government self-reporting mechanism. Only a few countries in Asia and the Pacific produced high-quality statistics in SP programs.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) developed a social protection index (SPI) for Asia and the Pacific in 2005−2008. This original SPI was a tool that helped assess, measure, and compare SP programs in each of the study countries. It provided policymakers with a tool to analyze SP programs from the perspective of expenditures on SP, coverage, distribution, and impact on the poor and vulnerable population.
The original SPI was a summary measurement tool that systematically and consistently quantified national SP activities in Asia and the Pacific (Wood 2010). It was a composite index, with four components: a social protection expenditure indicator (SPEXP), a social protection coverage indicator (SPCOV), a social protection distribution indicator (SPDIST), and a social protection impact indicator (SPIMP).
SPEXP showed the percentage of a country’s gross domestic product (GDP) spent on SP programs. SPCOV showed the percentage of the reference population that received SP benefits. SPDIST (called the poverty targeting rate) showed the percentage of the poor that received SP benefits. SPIMP showed the per capita SP benefits going to the poor expressed as a proportion of the national poverty line. A summary SPI was constructed on the basis of normalizing each of these four indicators on a scale of 0 to 1 and adding them
with equal weights.
ADB.January 2012. Type: Guides.ADB administration and governance; Social development and protection. ISBN: 978-92-9092-496-8 (print), 978-92-9092-497-5 (web)