Wharton Pension Research Council Working Papers

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Working Paper

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A large literature on the predictive powers of own schooling, and increasingly one’s parents’ schooling on cognitive and physical health of aging individuals focuses on high-income countries. There is a paucity of studies for other contexts, including Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). We use data from the longitudinal Chilean Social Protection Survey to investigate associations between one’s own schooling, one’s parents’ schooling, childhood family economic status and cognition of aging adults in a country that differs substantially from the U.S. and from other LAC countries. We further test whether these associations differ by gender. Our estimates suggest that own schooling significantly predicts cognition and that parental (particularly maternal) schooling and childhood family socioeconomic status are significant predictors of cognition. We also find significant heterogeneities in associations between the respondents’ own schooling and cognition for women and men.


Schooling, cognition, Chile, Longitudinal Chilean Social Protection Survey, aging

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Copyright/Permission Statement

The authors alone, and not the funders, take full responsibility for all the material and interpretations in this study. All findings, interpretations, and conclusions of this paper represent the views of the author(s) and not those of the Wharton School or the Pension Research Council. © 2021 Pension Research Council of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. All rights reserved.


The authors acknowledge funding support from NIA P30 AG012836, Administrative Supplement to Population Aging Research Center, “ADRD in a Developing Country: Collecting and Validating Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) and Examining it’s Precursors and Correlates” (PI I. Elo); “Cognitive Decline with Aging in Diverse Chilean Communities and in Comparison with Mexico and US,” Making a Difference in Diverse Communities grant from the School of Arts and Sciences and the Dean’s Global Inquiries Fund, (PI I. Elo); “Global Engagement to Investigate the New Global Issue of Cognitive Decline,” University of Pennsylvania Global Engagement Fund, (PI I. Elo); and “Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) in a Developing Country: Expanding the Sample to Give More Power for Collecting and Validating Harmonized Cognitive Assessment Protocol (HCAP) and Examining Its Precursors and Correlates,” Quartet Pilot Competition (Boettner Institute, PARC, PSC, CHIBE), University of Pennsylvania (PI I. Elo).

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Economics Commons



Date Posted: 10 May 2021