Impact Evaluation of the Non-contributory Social Pension Program 70 y mas

Publication Details

Salinas-Rodríguez, A, Manrique-Espinoza, B, Moreno-Tamayo, K, TorresPereda, P, De la Cruz-Góngora, V, Ángeles-Tagliaferro, G and Téllez-Rojo Solís, MM, 2014. Impact evaluation of the non-contributory social pension programme 70 y más in Mexico, 3ie Impact Evaluation Report 5. New Delhi: International Initiative for Impact Evaluation (3ie).

Link to Source
Aarón Salinas Rodríguez, Betty Manrique Espinoza, Karla Margarita Moreno Tamayo, Pilar Torres Pereda, Vanessa De la Cruz Góngora, Gustavo Angeles Tagliaferro, Martha Maria Tellez Rojo Solis
Institutional affiliations
None specified
Grant-holding institution
None specified
Latin America and the Caribbean
Social Protection
Pensions & Social Insurance
Gender analysis
Pensions & Social Insurance
Gender analysis
Equity Focus
Evaluation design
Regression Discontinuity Design (RDD), Mixed Methods
3ie Series Report
3ie Funding Window
Open Window Round 3


The study used the difference in differences strategy to estimate the impact of 70 y mas on nutrition and mental health conditions of elderly people.

Baseline data was collected by interviewing 5,465 elderly people in 516 localities in seven Mexican states between October and December 2007. The follow-up survey took place during November and December 2008. It was possible to locate and interview 5,270 of the elderly participants – in other words, 96 per cent of those interviewed at baseline. It should be noted that the control groups did not receive pensions either at baseline or at follow up; the programme enrolment process did not start in these localities until after follow up was complete. The design also included a qualitative component, to study the social and household-level mechanisms by which the program has an impact.

Main findings

After 11 months of exposure to the programme, results indicate a significant impact on protein (3.1g/d, P < 0.05) and carbohydrate intake (15.1g/d, P < 0.1). The pension's impact on energy, macronutrient intake and the adequacy of intake were significantly higher among women, indigenous groups and those in the lowest SES. Overall, the programme had no effect on BMI.

Findings for the depressive symptom indicators show that the programme had a significant overall effect on the presence of both mild (p < 0.10) and severe (p < 0.05) symptoms. Once again, the programme's impacts for these indicators are particularly prominent among women, the non-indigenous and the poorest elderly. The programme exerted a significant impact on the empowerment level of 70 y más beneficiaries. Receiving the pension boosted participation in decision making at home by 9 percent in absolute terms and 15 per cent in relative terms (compared with the percentage observed in the control group at follow-up). The study's qualitative component found a strong trend in reduced sadness and increased empowerment related to the programme and shared by the vast majority of participants.

Additional publications

About this impact evaluation

This study aims to evaluate the impact of Programa70 y mas, a non-contributory pension programme that arose in response to the lack of social security coverage for the elderly in Mexico, particularly among the rural poor. It consists of a universal non-contributory pension for the elderly, originally (during 2007) limited to those residing in localities with up to 2,500 inhabitants. The programme is now the second largest social development programme in Mexico, following Oportunidades.

 As compared to other age-groups, poverty alleviation amongst the elderly requires a different approach. Non-contributory social pension programmes are one of the few workable options. According to the Madrid International Action Plan on aging (UN, 2002), “non-contributory pension can help to fulfill the commitment of reducing in half the number of poor elderly by 2015, as well as contributing to their empowerment”. Currently 72 countries are implementing social pension programmes, 46 being low- and middle-income economies. Despite the efforts towards boosting social protection for elderly, there have been no rigorous impact evaluations of such programmes. This study evaluates the impact of Programa70 y más to help address this knowledge gap. The programme has two components; the first involves giving unconditional cash transfers of 500 Mexican (approximately US$40) pesos on a monthly basis to people 70 years and over residing in a locality with 2,500 or less inhabitants. The second component involves health oriented social participation and action.


Read a journal article:  Martha M Téllez-Rojo, Betty Manrique-Espinoza, Karla Moreno-Tamayo, Vanessa De la Cruz-Góngora, Gustavo Ángeles and Aarón Salinas-Rodríguez, 2013. Heterogeneous impact of the non-contributory pension programme 70 y más on nutritional status of the elderly in rural Mexico. The Lancet,Vol. 381, p. S143.

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