Emma Aguila, Ph.D.

Emma Aguila, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor,
Sol Price School of Public Policy


Phone: 213-821-0702


Economics of aging, health economics, and applied econometrics

Biographical sketch

Emma Aguila is an Assistant Professor at the USC Sol Price School of Public of Policy. She was previously a Senior Economist and Director of the RAND Center for Latin American Social Policy (CLASP). Dr. Aguila earned her Bachelor’s Degree at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de Mexico (ITAM) in Mexico City. She completed her master’s and Ph.D. in Economics at University College London in the United Kingdom. Her research interests include pension reform, saving for retirement, access to social security benefits and healthcare for vulnerable elderly population, and the interrelation between socioeconomic status and health.

Dr. Aguila has received several awards for her work on pension reform in Mexico. Her study on the effects of pension reform (pay-as-you-go versus fully-funded systems) on private savings and consumption received the first prize in pensions in 2005 from CONSAR, Mexico. In 2007, Dr. Aguila’s study on social security systems, pension provision, and retirement behavior in Mexico received the Inter-American Award for Research in Social Security. In 2008, she received the RAND Gold Merit Award for her contributions to social policy in Latin America.

Dr. Aguila has published two books examining aspects of income security in retirement, social security, health, and migration: (1) United States and Mexico: Ties That Bind, Issues That Divide and (2) Living Longer in Mexico: Income Security and Health. She has also authored several articles in top-ranking scientific journals.

Dr. Aguila has significant experience designing and implementing field experiments and longitudinal surveys. She is currently leading a randomized control trial analyzing the impact of a non-contributory pension program in the State of Yucatan, Mexico. She is advisor of the Mexican Health and Aging Study (MHAS) survey in Mexico and the Social Protection Survey (EPS) in Latin America.

She has been advisor and participated in research projects at the World Bank, Inter-American Development Bank, Department of Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom, Mexican Ministry of Finance, Mexican National Population Council, and Mexican Ministry of Social Development.


Aguila, E., Kapteyn, A., & Smith, J. P., The effects of income supplementation on health of the poor elderly: The case of Mexico; Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(1): 70-75; 2015.

Aguila, E., Fonseca, R., & Vega, A., Self-employment, Health Insurance, and Return Migration of Middle-Aged and Elderly Mexican Males; in W. Vega, K. S. Markides, J. L. Angel, and F. M. Torres-Gil (Eds.), Challenges of Latino Aging in the Americas (pp. 103-120). New York: Springer Science; 2015.

Aguila, E., Male labor force participation and social security in Mexico; Journal of Pension Economics and Finance, 13(2), 145-171; 2014.

Aguila, E., Escarce, J., Leng, M., & Morales, L., Health Status and Behavioral Risk Factors in Older Adult Mexicans and Mexican Immigrants to the U.S.; Journal of Aging and Health, 25(1) 137-159; 2013.

Aguila, E., Attanasio, O., & Meghir, C., Changes in Consumption at Retirement: Evidence from Panel Data; Review of Economics and Statistics, 93(3): 1094-1099; 2011.

Aguila, E., Personal Retirement Accounts and Saving; American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, 3(4): 1-21; 2011.