The Social Protection Indicator: Assessing Results for Asia

Publication | November 2016

Patterns reflect uneven development of the three major types of social protection programs in Asia, with social assistance as the main instrument that supports poor and vulnerable people in most middle- and low-income countries of Asia.

Download(Free : 2 available)
  • US$23.00 (paperback)

Social insurance continues to dominate social protection expenditures in Asia. While the SPI as a whole for the 25 countries in the Asian sample is equivalent to 3.7% of GDP per capita, the SPI for social insurance is equivalent to 2.7%, or almost three-quarters of the total. Within social insurance, pensions dominate, accounting for 44% of all expenditures on social protection.

An analysis of the actual beneficiaries of social protection presents a different finding than the one for expenditures. A prime example is pensions, which are dominant in terms of expenditures and cover only 12% of all actual beneficiaries of social protection. In contrast, health insurance covers 29% but whose expenditures are only 14% of the total social protection expenditures.

Existing social insurance schemes in the region mostly support employees in the formal sector, yet the majority of the population in most Asian developing countries is not covered by social insurance, which provides protection against sickness, unemployment, disability, and old age. Instead, social assistance is the main instrument that supports poor and vulnerable people in most middle- and low-income countries of Asia.

About this publication

The Social Protection Indicator (SPI) report presents data on government social protection programs collected from 25 countries in Asia—while a companion publication covers the 13 countries in the Pacific. This report is an update of The Social Protection Index: Assessing Results for Asia and the Pacific published by ADB in 2013. It helps monitor and assess the nature of governments’ social insurance, social assistance, and labor market programs in Asia.


  • Foreword
  • Acknowledgments
  • Executive Summary
  • Objectives and Methodology
  • Overall Social Protection Indicator Results—Asia and the Pacific
  • Major Categories of Social Protection Programs
  • Depth and Breadth of Social Protection
  • Poverty and Gender Dimensions of the Social Protection Indicator
  • Progress in Social Protection over Time
  • Summing Up the Results
  • Appendixes
  • Glossary of Terms

Additional Details

  • Poverty
  • Social development and protection
  • Social protection
  • 134
  • BKK168025-2
  • 978-92-9257-497-0 (Print)
  • 978-92-9257-498-7 (e-ISBN)

Subscribe to our monthly digest of latest ADB publications.

Follow ADB Publications on social media.