ASPIRE is the World Bank's premier compilation of Social Protection and Labor (SPL) indicators gathered from officially-recognized international household surveys in order to analyze the distributional and poverty impact of Social Protection and Labor programs. ASPIRE is an ongoing project that aims to improve SPL data quality, comparability and availability to better inform SPL policies and programs.

This portal serves both World Bank staff and external practitioners as a one-stop-shop for SPL indicators. ASPIRE is directly linked to the World Bank Databank in order to provide the user with tools to search the database and to generate customized tables and charts. In addition the portal includes related survey information from the World Bank Microdata Library.

About Us

ASPIRE is a joint project of the World Bank Social Protection and Labor (SPL) Global Practice.

ASPIRE builds on the work of several country and regional teams within the World Bank SPL Global Practice, together with the World Bank Poverty Global Practice, the Development Economics Research Group (the team that developed the ADePT SP software), and the International Income Distribution Database (I2D2). All these colleagues have helped the ASPIRE team in obtaining the necessary data and welfare aggregates to build the database and have been critical in validating the indicators produced. An important acknowledgement goes also to the staff of over 100 governmental statistics offices that collected the primary household survey data.

The ASPIRE database is managed by a core World Bank team led by Oleksiy Ivaschenko and is comprised of Ruslan Yemtsov, Claudia P. Rodríguez Alas, Marina Novikova, Linghui Zhu, Raiden Dillard and the following staff in charge of analyzing and validating indicators:

  • Africa Aline Coudouel, Lead Economist
    • Phillippe Leite, Senior Economist
    • Emma Monsalve, Consultant
  • East Asia Jesse Jon Gerome Doyle, Economist
    • Carolina Diaz Bonilla, Senior Economist
    • Pablo Acosta, Senior Economist
  • Eastern Europe and Central Asia Mattia Makovec, Economist
    • Renata Mayer Gukovas, Research Analyst
    • Frieda Vandeninden, Consultant
  • Latin America and the Caribbean Junko Onishi, Senior Social Protection Specialist
    • Leonardo Lucchetti, Economist
    • Lucia Solbes Castro, Operations Analyst
    • Ursula Milagros Martinez Angulo, Consultant
  • Middle East and North Africa Amr S. Moubarak, Social Protection Economist
    • Stefanie Koetll-Brodmann,Senior Economist
    • Aziz Aziz Atamanov, Economist
  • South Asia David Newhouse, Senior Economist
    • Yoonyoung Cho, Senior Economist
    • Thomas Walker, Senior Economist

How is ASPIRE useful?

By harmonizing survey data for 123 countries, ASPIRE aims to meet the increasing demand on comparable and up-to-date SPL data from policymakers, practitioners and other country stakeholders, World Bank staff, other development organizations, researchers and civil society.

In summary, ASPIRE indicators based on household surveys are useful for:

  • Benchmarking SPL programs and systems performance in terms of overall coverage, benefit incidence, adequacy of benefits, impact on poverty and inequality, benefit-cost ratios as well as programs overlaps and spending. These indicators are provided by program type, by extreme poor, poor and non-poor, by quintiles of (before and after-transfer) welfare distribution, and by urban/rural geographical areas.
  • Providing comparable nation-wide description of the country context where SPL programs operate in terms of demographic patters, living arrangements, age-based poverty rates, labor market status, and employment structure by status and sector.
  • Complementing administrative data on SPL programs and systems collected through countries’ Management Information Systems for a broader analysis.
  • Providing a description of country SPL systems based on nationally representative household surveys (with related caveats) and on information directly collected from beneficiaries.

What indicators are provided by ASPIRE?

The ASPIRE database includes three types of indicators: performance, social expenditure and country context.

Country context

Country context indicators describe the country context where SPL programs operate. These indicators are provided for 129 countries mostly based on nationally representative surveys harmonized in the World Bank International Database of Income Distribution (I2D2). The indicators are also disaggregated by rural and urban geographical areas, by gender and age groups (children, youth, working age, elderly). They are grouped in the following topics:

  • Demographic patterns
    • Share of children (0-14)
    • Share of youth (15-24)
    • Share of working age adults (25-59)
    • Share of elderly (60+)
  • Living arrangements
    • Elderly with non-elderly co-residence rate
    • Household dependency rate
    • Share of households with children
    • Share of households with youth
    • Share of households with working age adults
    • Share of households with elderly
  • Age-based poverty rates based on poorest 40% of consumption distribution
    • Poverty headcount of children
    • Poverty headcount of youth
    • Poverty headcount of adult working age
    • Poverty headcount of the elderly
  • Labor market status
    • Share of employed
    • Share of unemployed
    • Share of inactive student
    • Share of inactive non-student
    • Labor force participation rate
    • Unemployment rate
    • Youth to adult unemployment rate ratio
  • Employment structure by status
    • Share of employed workers who are wage employees
    • Share of employed workers who are employers
    • Share of employed workers who are self-employed
    • Share of employed workers who are unpaid
  • Employment structure by sector
    • Share of employed in agriculture
    • Share of employed in industry
    • Share of employed in services

Social Expenditure

This indicator refers to the total program expenditure including spending on benefits and on administrative costs. The indicator captures both the recurrent and capital program budget and is based on administrative program records. Program level expenditure is analyzed as a percent of GDP of the respective year and is aggregated by harmonized program categories (unconditional cash transfers, conditional cash transfers, social pensions, school feeding, in-kind transfers, fee waivers, public works, and other social assistance) of social assistance programs (expenditure for social insurance and labor market programs is not yet available).

Performance (generated through ADePT Social Protection)

Performance indicators estimate the performance of social assistance, social insurance and labor market programs in 123 countries based on nationally representative household surveys. The indicators are disaggregated by SPL harmonized program category, by rural and urban geographical areas, by quintile of the pre- and post-transfer welfare distribution, and by those living below PPP $1.90 a day (extreme poor). They are grouped according to the following topics:

  • Coverage
    • Coverage
    • Program duplication and overlaps
  • Targeting accuracy
    • Benefit incidence
    • Beneficiary incidence
  • Benefit level
    • Average per capita transfer (daily $PPP)
    • Adequacy of benefits
  • Impacts and efficiency
    • Poverty head count reduction
    • Poverty gap reduction
    • Inequality reduction
    • Benefit-cost ratio

ASPIRE indicator definitions

What is ASPIRE country coverage?

ASPIRE performance indicators cover 309 nationally representative household surveys in 123 countries, mostly in the developing world, from 1998 to 2016.

ASPIRE country context indicators cover 705 surveys in 129 countries from 1998 to 2015. The number of surveys for which country context indicators are generated is greater than the one for which performance indicators are available as country context indicators are also based on surveys that do not include SPL programs (which makes it impossible to measure performance). Age-based poverty rates are available for 35 countries only where consumption aggregates, as harmonized by World Bank Regional poverty teams, could be used to generate poverty rates.

ASPIRE expenditure indicators are available for 124 countries.

ASPIRE performance indicators coverage

ASPIRE country context indicators coverage

What is the source of ASPIRE data?

ASPIRE performance indicators are generally based on national representative household surveys (except for Argentina where the survey is only urban representative) including household income expenditure/budget surveys, Living Standard Measurement Surveys (LSMS), Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICs), Surveys on Income and Living Conditions (SILCs), and Welfare Monitoring Surveys. Efforts are made to ensure that welfare aggregates (either income or consumption per capita) used to rank households are those harmonized by World Bank regional poverty teams and are up-to-date.

ASPIRE country context indicators are based on survey data harmonized by the International Income Distribution Database (I2D2), which is a repository of nationally representative household surveys, including both household expenditure and labor force surveys developed and maintained by the WB Development Economics Research group. Age-based poverty rates are based on welfare aggregates (either income or consumption per capita) harmonized by World Bank regional poverty teams that could be used to generate poverty rates.

ASPIRE expenditure indicators are based on program administrative records from primary and secondary sources: official government reports and the official website; data provided directly by government officials through country dialogue with the World Bank; published World Bank country reports; and other international databases (from the Asian Development Bank, Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations, and World Food Programme, HelpAge). When official program-level administrative data are not available, data have been collected and compiled by the World Bank local consultants working closely with government agencies implementing social assistance programs.

Why is ASPIRE unique?

There is no other source of similar indicators for the developing world:

  • With the same country coverage
  • Archived and accessible
  • Focused on cutting-edge techniques to assess program performance (ADePT Social Protection)

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