Households with Elderly Members in Mexico: Can Pensions or a Demogrant Help Facing Food Insecurity?

By Mireya Vilar-Compte and Luis A. Ortiz-Blas.

Published by The International Journal of Aging and Society

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Article: Electronic $US5.00

The objective of this article is to analyze the effect of pensions and of a subsidy for elderly persons in the propensity of households to be food insecure in Mexico. We analyzed cross-sectional data from the 2008 National Income and Expenditure Survey and compared food security status among households with elderly members who received pensions or a demogrant subsidy (exposed groups) and households with elderly members without such transfers (non-exposed groups). Propensity Score Matching was used to create comparable non-exposed groups. The exposed group of households receiving a pension were on average 6 percentage points more food secure than the non-exposed group; exposed households showed a significantly lower percentage of severe food insecure households (ranging from 2 to 4 percentage points). Those receiving a subsidy reported, on average, a significantly lower proportion of mild food insecurity (2 to 4 percentage points lower), and a greater proportion of low food insecurity (increase of 4 percentage points). Pensions and subsidies appear to have improved food security of households with elderly in Mexico, but the effects on actual food expenditure and diet are yet to be assessed. Findings are relevant to countries facing a demographic transition and that are likely to have elderly persons living with extended families.

Keywords: Pensions, Public Subsidies, Food Security, Financial Contributions to Households

The International Journal of Aging and Society, Volume 2, Issue 4, pp.1-15. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 434.670KB).

Dr. Mireya Vilar-Compte

Associate Professor, Health Department, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, Mexico City (DF), Mexico

Mireya Vilar Compte, PhD, is an associate professor in the Health Department at the Universidad Iberoamericana. Her research agenda includes financial protection in health among vulnerable groups (i.e. elderly and immigrants), aging and nutrition, and food insecurity. Her most recent research assesses the impact of food security on health outcomes among urban older adults. She holds a PhD and an MPhil in public administration from New York University, as well as an MPP from the University of York. As part of her professional experience, she worked for more than two years as a health specialist at the World Bank.

Luis A. Ortiz-Blas

Research Assistant, Health Department, Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, Mexico City (DF), Mexico

Luis Ortiz-Blas was a reseach assistant at Universidad Iberoamericana, Mexico, at the time this research was conducted. He holds an MSc in health economics from Barcelona Graduate School of Economics. As a part of his professional experience he worked for more than two years as a junior professional sssociate at the World Bank.