Over the years, SPDC has made significant intellectual contribution in placing issues of propoor growth and social development on the policy-making agenda. It has been able to create a niche for itself by producing quality social sector research. Objective and original research on developmental issues being the hallmark of its research, SPDC's influence on the national and provincial policies is visible.

SPDC’s Annual Reviews receive wide attention

SPDC publishes thematic annual reviews of social development in Pakistan. The Centre has worked on various aspects of poverty, inequality, and pro-poor growth. Its research mainly focuses on definitional issues in estimating poverty line, various dynamics of poverty and inequality, poverty trends, poverty at sub-national levels, poverty and inequality nexus, social development and economic growth, social safety nets and regional inequalities. The findings helped initiate informed debate on issues related to poverty, inequality and pro-poor growth and have contributed in placing these issues on the national policy agenda.

Technical support to federal and provincial governments for NFC Awards

SPDC provided technical assistance to the federal and provincial governments in the formulation of NFC Award of 1996 and technical assistance to Government of Sindh regarding 7th NFC Award 2009. Additionally, SPDC’s work on Development Ranking of the Districts was used by the Government of Sindh in preparing the formula for resource distribution among districts and was incorporated in the PFC (Provincial Finance Commission) Award 2002.

Pioneered training of gender responsive budgeting in Pakistan

SPDC pioneered specialized training on Gender Responsive Budgeting in Pakistan. A series of training workshops and seminars were conducted in this particular area to train government officials, people from CSOs, academia and SPDC staff.

Evaluation of completed programs and projects

In 1997, SPDC conducted a comprehensive review of the Social Action Programme (SAP) viewed as being an independent review / evaluation by the government, donor community and nongovernmental organisations. Several recommendations of SPDC were incorporated in Phase II of the SAP. SPDC also conducted a critical review of Pakistan's Poverty Reduction Strategy.

SPDC staff invited to membership of important governments and civil society forums

SPDC's capability and capacity as a premier policy analysis institute is reflected by the nomination of key SPDC staff members to more than 30 commissions, committees, task forces and other forums established by federal and provincial governments in the field of resource mobilization, the Provincial Finance Commission Award besides preparing studies/reports on provincial/ local finances and social service delivery.

Technical support to overseas countries

Internationally, SPDC has provided technical assistance to the Government of Eritrea in developing the capacity of the National Statistics and Evaluation Office, Eritrea. Technical assistance to Eritrea focused on developing survey tools for the Living Standards Measurement Survey and analyzing the data for assessment of poverty indicators. SPDC also provided technical assistance to Macro Policy and International Cooperation Office of the Government of Eritrea in preparing the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy paper for Eritrea.

Formulation of innovative integrated macro-economic modeling

SPDC developed expertise in social sector/macro-economic modelling by pioneering the development of an Integrated Social Policy and Macroeconomic Model (ISPM). The ISPM, considered by international experts in economic modelling to be a pioneer effort, was highlighted at the Project LINK Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1996 and by the UN's Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. Its unique features are the modelling of the interaction between the macroeconomic indicators, public finance data, and the social sector. The model can be used as an effective planning tool for social sector development. A tailored version of it has been used by the Planning Commission of Pakistan in preparation of the Ten Year Perspective Plan and the macroeconomic framework of the Ninth Five-Year Plan.