Do Income Supplemental Programs for Older Adults' Help Reduce Primary Caregiver Burden?

Evidence from Mexico

Published in: Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology, Volume 34, pages 385–402 (2019). doi: 10.1007/s10823-019-09374-8

Posted on on December 15, 2020

by Emma Aguila, Mariana López-Ortega, Sean Angst

Read More

Access further information on this document at Journal of Cross-Cultural Gerontology

This article was published outside of RAND. The full text of the article can be found at the link above.

In countries such as Mexico without formal public long-term care policies, informal care becomes the main source of support for older adults. Alternative social programs, such as supplemental income programs, for older adults could alleviate caregiver burden, especially if supplemental income were to be used for paid care or to compensate non-paid family caregivers. This work is the first to analyze the effects of a supplemental income program for older adults on primary caregiver burden. To identify how such a program might affect caregiver burden, we analyze rich panel data on 433 adults 70 years and older in two communities, one receiving a supplemental income program and the other not, in Yucatan, Mexico. Data were collected in 2008 and 2009 among treatment and control groups before and 6 months after program introduction. We employ a difference-in-differences approach. In our sample, most care is provided by non-paid female caregivers. We find that individuals in both the treatment and control groups received fewer hours of care over time. The decrease was lower for older adults who received the supplemental income, but the difference with those who did not was not statistically significant. We also observe few changes on caregiving burden; even after program introduction, more than 98% of caregivers remained unpaid and the same primary caregiver remained. Altogether, our work suggests supplemental income programs have negligible effects on caregiving, making evident the urgent need for other strategies to support non-paid caregivers who bear most of the burden for old-age care in Mexico.

Research conducted by

This report is part of the RAND Corporation External publication series. Many RAND studies are published in peer-reviewed scholarly journals, as chapters in commercial books, or as documents published by other organizations.

Our mission to help improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis is enabled through our core values of quality and objectivity and our unwavering commitment to the highest level of integrity and ethical behavior. To help ensure our research and analysis are rigorous, objective, and nonpartisan, we subject our research publications to a robust and exacting quality-assurance process; avoid both the appearance and reality of financial and other conflicts of interest through staff training, project screening, and a policy of mandatory disclosure; and pursue transparency in our research engagements through our commitment to the open publication of our research findings and recommendations, disclosure of the source of funding of published research, and policies to ensure intellectual independence. For more information, visit

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors.