Gender Differences in Cognitive Abilities among the Elderly Poor of Peru

Produced by: 
University of Leuven
Available from: 
MAY 2014
Paper author(s): 
Rafael Novella (IADB)
Javier Olivera (University of Luxembourg)
Demographic Economics - Migration
Education - Health
Fiscal Policy - Public and Welfare Economics

This paper analyses gender differences on cognitive abilities for the elderly poor in Peru. We use a unique and recent survey for the elderly individuals living in poverty in Peru (ESBAM) that includes cognitive tests and a comprehensive set of socio-demographics and subjective and objective health measures. We find significant differences in mental intactness in favour of males, and in episodic memory in favour of females. In contrast, there are not gender differences in an overall measure of cognition, but regional differences appear to matter in favour of urban localities. The sizeable associations of education and childhood nutrition quality with cognition confirm the long-term impacts of early life developments on current outcomes. Therefore, policies aimed at improving early childhood development are expected to have a positive impact in later-life.


Research section: 
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