Emma Aguila Vega, PhD

TitleAssistant Professor of Public Policy
InstitutionUniversity of Southern California
DepartmentPublic Policy
AddressRGL 226
University Park Campus
Los Angeles CA 90089
Phone+1 213 821 0702
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    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 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, and social security coverage and labor dynamics of immigrants.
    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.
    Dr. Aguila’s 12 years of professional experience has informed her research agenda. She has worked as a researcher for the chief economist team at the Department of Work and Pensions in the United Kingdom, as a consultant in projects for the World Bank, and on the research staff of the Mexican Ministry of Finance, the Mexican Ministry of Energy and the Mexican National Population Council.

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    1. Aguila E, Guerrero EG, Vega WA. Sociodemographic characteristics associated with alcohol use among low-income Mexican older adults. Subst Abuse Treat Prev Policy. 2016 Apr 29; 11(1):16. PMID: 27129926; PMCID: PMC4850697.
    2. Aguila E, Kapteyn A, Smith JP. Effects of income supplementation on health of the poor elderly: the case of Mexico. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2015 Jan 06; 112(1):70-5. PMID: 25535388; PMCID: PMC4291674.
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