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Indicators to measure Social Protection Performance

This concept paper provides a critical overview of social protection indicators in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) context to support the European Commission’s decision-making on social protection indicators and to support decisions on how the European Commission can contribute to the global indicator discourse within its own institutional mandate and institutional priorities.

The findings point to three main challenges in the current social protection indicator discourse.

  • The types of indicators currently used focus heavily on measuring quantity at the input and output level. This is at the expense of results-oriented indicators which would capture social protection outcomes and impacts, and measure the quality of social protection.
  • Whilst the choices of indicators are as much political as they are technical, there are challenging data limitations which affect the types of indicators chosen, and this partly explains the imbalance of indicators towards quantitative inputs and outputs.
  • There is limited comparability and compatibility in terms of the social protection indicators used by different agencies.

The paper provides some general recommendations to the social protection community on harmonising and coordinating indicator processes, and provides more detailed recommendations on how the EU could play an important role in supporting the SDG process, to adopt indicators that are consistent where the SDG indicators are considered adequate for EU monitoring purposes, and in attempting to build on, rather than duplicate, existing indicators, where they are not. In this capacity, the EU can play a role in supporting the process of data and indicator coordination, through collaborative engagement with other agencies, and in promoting shared, rather than institution-specific, core indicators – to the extent that this is institutionally feasible.

This concept paper has been prepared by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) in the frame of an EC service contract commissioned by DG DEVCO's Unit B3 – Migration, Employment, Inequalities. It is only available in English.

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Noelle Aboya - Chevanne
25 January 2017

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