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Why On the basis of textual information, the Social Security Database offers statistically usable information on social security programmes. Three types of possible usage justify the development of this database: An essential component of socio-economic security indicators should be a set of variables reflecting the principles or models of social protection. As such, the number, the conditionalities and other features of (national) social security programmes are seen as key elements for the building of indicators of security. This database provides an overview of the situation of social security systems worldwide as well as a detailed description of the mechanisms on the basis of how various programmes operate. It will also serve as a complementary or alternative source of information to other databases in the SES Databank. Social security programmes have been classified and regrouped to constitute models (Titmuss, Esping-Andersen, etc.) based on historical, institutional and/or cultural factors. This database will allow to verify statistically these models and explore the relevance of alternative models, notably through cluster analysis.
What The ILO Convention No. 102 defines minimum standards of social needs for nine main social security branches: A wider definition based on functionalities of social protection encompasses the two following items:
  • housing
  • social exclusion/social assistance
Due to time constraints and the difficulty of covering all programmes in detail, only nationwide and compulsory cash benefit social security programmes were included in the database. Medical care, housing and social exclusion/social assistance programmes were excluded because they can be developed locally, like most social exclusion programmes. They could also consist in benefits-in-kind such as health care, or could be split between many different provisions, such as housing programmes.
Where The Social Security database covers 124 countries from all regions and sub-regions of the world.
Design Data collection has been processed using a questionnaire which has been structured around the above 8 social security branches. For each of them there are both quantitative (coverage, contribution rates, etc.) and qualitative questions. The former are responded by entering the numerical values and the latter through a range of predefined coded answers.

There are 172 questions for each country. It is important to note that not every country has programmes for each of the 8 branches or sometimes there is a programme but no information is available to answer the corresponding questions. Some questions are common to all branches (e.g. number of programmes, types of programmes, etc.). Others are specific to a branch (e.g. in Family Allowances: equal benefit amount for each child).
Source This database has collected information from different sources:
a. The description of social security programmes (163 questions) was mainly based on Social Security Programs Throughout the World (SSPTW), a publication related to International Social Security Association activities: ISSA

Alternative sources used mainly for European, CIS and OECD countries are:
  • MISSOC, Social Protection in the Member States of the European Union and the European Economic Area 2000, European Commission. (18 countries).
  • Mutual Information System on Social Protection of the Council of Europe (MISSCEO), comparative tables of social security schemes (in Council of Europe member states not members of the European Union, in Australia, Canada, Armenia and New Zealand) (25 countries), (situation on 1 July 2000, taken from the 10th edition), Council of Europe.

b. Information concerning social security expenditures, total and per branch (10 questions) was collected from:
Outputs - Trends in old-age pension programs between 1989 and 2003
Pascal Annycke, Mars 2006

- Social security and reforms in Ukraine
Pascal Annycke, April 2005

- Whither social security?
A Response through Indicators

Florence Bonnet, October 2002

- Representation, social security and changes in EU jurisprudence
Pascal Annycke, April, 2003

- Socio-Economic Security in Africa: An Overview, [French]
Florence Bonnet, May 2003

- The social security database [Access]
Contact Florence Bonnet - bonnet@ilo.org