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Labor force participation by the elderly in Mexico


  • Edwin van Gameren

    () (El Colegio de México)


A brief review of the aging of the Mexican population, the high labor force participation of elderly, and the lack of retirement pensions, is followed by a causal empirical analysis using a panel data set (Mexican Health and Aging Study, MHAS) of Mexicans aged 50 and more. We find that the labor force participation of elderly men is affected by their economic situation; in particular the availability of a retirement pension (after contributions to a pension plan earlier in their life) reduces participation. A better health raises male participation rates, while the health effect is absent for women. The opposite effect, from labor force participation on health status, is negligible for both genders. Access to health services, which is obtained if the partner or a child is working, reduces participation rates. Additional analysis indicates that the same variables influence the choice for a job in the formal or the informal sector, and whether a job is held in addition to a pension. The results suggest that a redesign of the social security including retirement pensions and health care services has implications for the individuals’ participation decisions, and therefore for future contributions to the insurance and pension plans.

Suggested Citation

  • Edwin van Gameren, 2010. "Labor force participation by the elderly in Mexico," Serie documentos de trabajo del Centro de Estudios Económicos 2010-06, El Colegio de México, Centro de Estudios Económicos.
  • Handle: RePEc:emx:ceedoc:2010-06

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Edwin van Gameren & Durfari Velandia Naranjo, 2015. "Working and Caring: The Simultaneous Decision of Labor Force Participation and Informal Elderly and Child Support Activities in Mexico," Latin American Journal of Economics-formerly Cuadernos de Economía, Instituto de Economía. Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile., vol. 52(2), pages 117-148, November.
    2. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2016. "Health status and labor force participation: evidence for urban low and middle income individuals in Colombia," Portuguese Economic Journal, Springer;Instituto Superior de Economia e Gestao, vol. 15(1), pages 33-55, April.
    3. Ana María Iregui-Bohórquez & Ligia Alba Melo-Becerra & María Teresa Ramírez-Giraldo, 2015. "Estado de salud y participación laboral: Evidencia para Colombia," Borradores de Economia 851, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.

    More about this item


    labor force participation; pension; health; insurance;

    JEL classification:

    • J14 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped; Non-Labor Market Discrimination
    • J22 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Time Allocation and Labor Supply
    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • D13 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Production and Intrahouse Allocation

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