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Global Development Institute

Annotated database

This page brings together a variety of databases and datasets related to social assistance programmes, inequality, and poverty analysis.

This compilation provides a brief description of, links to and contact information for, databases related to the research of social assistance programmes, inequality, and poverty analysis. The databases look at a variety of areas including pensions, household surveys, and quality of government indicators. 

A pdf version of the database is available: 

The Social Assistance in Developing Countries database

Versions 1 (March 2005) to version 5 (March 2010). Constructs research infrastructure with the sole purpose of studying the emerging social assistance programmes in low and middle income countries. Covers 2000-2010 with some programmes included pre-2000.

Includes data on pilot social assistance programmes in Latin America, Africa, and Asia. Adopts a new typology that distinguishes between the different types of social assistance programmes.

Example indicators: Pure income transfers by country, child and family allowances, social pensions (including old age and disability pensions)

For more information please contact:

ASPIRE dataset, The World Bank

Provides harmonised indicators to describe the country context where Social Protection and Labour programmes operate and to analyse performance of social assistance, social insurance, and labour markets.

Utilises household survey data from 120 developing countries, regularly updated. A visualisation data tool allows the user to customise maps with ASPIRE indicators. Such tools include a social assistance coverage tool, social assistance beneficiary incidence, and social assistance adequacy tool.

Example indicators: Coverage, benefit incidence (poorest 20%), gini inequality reduction, poverty headcount, etc.

For more information please contact:

LIS Cross-National Data Center, Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg

LIS acquires datasets with income, wealth, employment, and demographic data from multiple countries, harmonises them, and makes them publicly available. The databases include the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Database and the Luxembourg Wealth Study Database (LWS).

The LIS and LWS databases utilises harmonised income microdata collected from multiple countries collected over a period of decades.

Example Indicators: market income, public transfers and taxes, expenditures, behavioural indicators

For more information please contact

Microdata Library, The World Bank

Facilitates access to data collected through sample surveys of households, business establishments, or population, housing, or agricultural censuses. Also includes administrative data collection processes. 

Provides all supporting documents, questionnaires, and reports available in Microsoft Word or PDF. Contains over 2,287 surveys

Example Surveys: Sao Tome and Principe Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey 2014, Vietnam District and Commune Health Facility Survey 2015, and Nigeria General Household Survey, Panel 2015-2016, Wave 3

For more information please contact: 

Key Indicators of the Labour Market, The International Labour Organization

Consists of country-level on 17 key indicators of the labour market from 1980 to the latest available year. Includes a full report on access to the labour market in the world.

The ILO have recently updated this database to include an analysis of the link between education and access to the labour market. Provides an interactive tool for reviewing indicators at a glance.

Example Indicators: Status in employment, employment by sector, part-time workers, hours of work, etc.

For more information please contact: 

International Household Survey Network

An informal network of international agencies that include the UK DFID, ILO, WHO, UIS, UNICEF, and World Bank. They provide microdata from each source, allowing the site to be a one-stop website for surveys.

Represents agencies that operate solely on the basis of voluntary contributions from its members. Provides full documentation of the micro data dissemination policy guidelines. Available in French, English, Spanish, and Arabic

Example Surveys: Enterprise surveys, World Bank Country Surveys, Living Standard Measurement surveys, and population and housing censuses

For more information please contact: 

Economic Research Forum, Open Access Micro Data Initiative

Provides researchers with free access to several types of micro data, including household-level and firm-level data. 

Covers surveys from Egypt, Palestine, Jordan, Morocco, Lebanon, and Turkey

Example Indicators: Sample surveys include labour market panel surveys, MSE surveys, and harmonised labour force surveys

For more information please contact: 

PensionWatch, Age International

Comprehensive online resource of non-contributory social pensions. Has data on over 100 social pension schemes running across the globe in low, middle, and high-income countries. 

Utilising the tools on the website, you can find out how much a social pension would cost in certain countries, use an interactive map about summary statistics for each country, and access country fact files.

Example Indicators: Poverty rate, % population 60+ covered, total cost (% of GDP)

Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys, United Nations Children Fund

The MICS is the largest collection of surveys on children and women in the world.  Just launched MICS 6 in November 2016 to align with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs).

Provides 108 countries with 288 surveys. UNICEF also produces an important report called The State of the World’s Children (link). Also provides methodological papers to discuss methodological issues related to the collection, analysis, and dissemination of MICS data.

For more information please contact: 

Non-contributory social protection programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean database, ECLAC

Provides a database of all conditional cash transfer programmes, social pensions, and labour and productive inclusion programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean, roughly 22 countries.

Available in English and Spanish, the wider website addresses social development in Latin America and the Caribbean, promoting integral human development and conducting and disseminating analyses of the social situation in the region on particular issues. The website is an excellent resource for further research on the subject.

Example Indicators: Coverage, Geographic Scale, targeting method, exit strategies, target population

Social Protection Index, Asian Development Bank

Summarises the extent of social protection in Asia and Pacific countries. Enables in-depth analysis of social protection at the country and regional levels. Initially compiled for 2003-2006, but has been updated recently.  

Contains annual data on social protection expenditures for social assistance, social insurance, and market programs. Recent update introduced institutional arrangements to sustain the effective use of the social protection indicators and policy analysis.

Example Indicators: Expenditures, coverage, impact, distribution, basic economic and social statistics.

Quality of Government database, The University of Gothenburg

Compiles data on country level politics and institutions from other dedicated databases, from 1946 to 2015. There are more than 2500 variables and 100 data sources.

They provide the time series and cross-section data in STATA, SPSS, and as a csv file.

Example Indicators: Civil Society, conflict, education, environment, labour market, etc.

For more information please contact:

ICTD Government Revenue Dataset

The ICTD GRD dataset merges data from central and general government sources to compile a dataset on government revenue.

A Working Paper describing the construction of the dataset can be found here. This dataset has been updated in May and June 2016. User can join a mailing list to be alerted of future updates.

Example Indicators: Revenue including social contributions, revenue excluding social contributions, total resource revenue, taxes including social contributions

For more information please contact: