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The impact of education and health heterogeneity on Generational Support Ratios: a cross-national comparison between Mexico and Korea



Policy makers are concerned about the socio-economic consequences of population ageing. Policies often rely on estimations of support ratios based solely on the population age structure. We estimate Generational Support Ratios (GSRs) considering health heterogeneity of the population age 60+ and education heterogeneity of their offspring. We explore the effect of a public policy that changes the education of a targeted sub-group of women when they are young on their health once they become older, taking into account changes in demographic processes (i.e. marriage, fertility, offspring's education). We used the model presented by Kye et al. for the Korean context and examine the Mexican context. Our paper has three objectives. First, by applying this framework to the Mexican context we aim to find that improvements in women's education may mitigate the negative consequences of population ageing directly and indirectly through subsequent demographic behaviours that altogether affect GSRs. Second, by making a cross-national comparison between Korea and Mexico, we aim to quantify how policies of educational expansion have different impacts in contexts in which the population age 60+ have universal access to health care compared to contexts in which access to health care is selective. Third, by comparing cross-nationally we aim to show how differences in family processes across countries alter the pathways through which improvements in education affect GSRs.


Corresponding author

Address for correspondence: Erika Arenas, Social Science and Media Studies Building Room 3123, University of California Santa Barbara, CA 93106-9430, USA E-mail:


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