Headshot of Emma Aguila

Emma Aguila, PhD

Associate Professor of Economics and Gerontology


  • Economics of aging
  • health economics
  • applied econometrics


Emma Aguila is an Associate 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 focuses on interrelation between socioeconomic status and health and how social security and social insurance programs can help improve health and well-being for vulnerable middle-aged and older adults.

Aguila has received several awards for her work on social security systems 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, 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 research in economics of aging in Latin America. In 2016, she received the inaugural High Impact Research Award from the USC Sol Price School of Public Policy for her work on retirement account management fees and elderly income security in Mexico.

Aguila has published two monographs 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 including the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Demography, Social Science & Medicine, Review of Economics and Statistics, and the American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Aguila has extensive experience designing and implementing field experiments and longitudinal surveys. She led 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.


Email: eaguilav@usc.edu

Publications and links:

Curriculum Vitae