Inequality in old age cognitive abilities across the world

Javier Olivera, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)
Anja K. Leist, University of Luxembourg
Louis Chauvel, Université de Luxembourg

What is commonly found in studies that look at later-life cognitive abilities is a strong effect of educational attainment on retarding the deterioration of such abilities. In this sense, education is a protective measure for cognition reserve. In a more aggregate perspective, we propose a measure of later-life cognition inequality per birth cohort in 34 countries with diverse degree of economic development and comparable cognition tests. We relate cognitive inequality with corresponding past inequalities in education and income in each country. A proxy of survival rate of the cohort is also included in linear regressions in order to disentangle the effects of age and education composition on cognition inequality. Our results show a sizeable positive effect of past educational inequalities on present inequality of old age cognition. Furthermore, the survival rate is positively associated with todays’ cognitive inequality.

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 Presented in Session 63. Health and education