Old-Age Wealth in Mexico: The Role of Early-Life Reproductive and Human Capital Decisions
Rebeca Wong, University of Maryland
Deborah S. DeGraff, Bowdoin College
This paper examines the effects of early-life decisions regarding human capital, family formation and work activities on wealth of the elderly in Mexico, using the 2001 Mexican Health and Aging Study. We examine correlates of wealth across three cohorts: 50-59, 60-69, and 70+. These cohorts have experienced enormous changes in social, economic and institutional context, such that behaviors at certain points in the life course may translate differently into effects on later-life wealth. The paper describes this changing context, and provides a theoretical foundation for our research, an overview of the options for wealth accumulation for older adults in Mexico, a description of the net worth patterns across groups, and presents the results of multivariate models. We draw conclusions regarding whether the economic wellbeing of older adults in Mexico varies significantly across age cohorts and gender, and how early-life decisions impact old-age economic wellbeing as measured by wealth.