Social Protection Index Brief: Labor Market Programs in Asia and the Pacific

Date: October 2013
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: ADB Briefs
ISBN: 978-92-9254-296-2 (print), 978-92-9254-297-9 (web)
ISSN: 2071-7202 (print), 2218-2675 (web)
Author: McKinley, Terry; Handayani, Sri Wening


This policy brief shows the modest role of labor market programs in the overall social protection programs in Asia and the Pacific, suggesting that the priority is to substantially expand coverage of labor market programs in the region.

Key Points

  • Labor market programs feature little in social protection programs in Asia and the Pacific.
  • Investments in active labor market programs in 35 countries are mostly food- or cash-for-work and skills development and training programs.
  • South Asia is doing more on labor market programs when compared to other parts of Asia and the Pacific, but expenditures remain relatively modest.
  • Coverage of labor market programs remains low at 22% of potential beneficiaries.
  • Men tend to receive more benefits from labor market programs than women, underlining the gender gap in access to economic opportunities such as jobs.