Living institutions: Welfare-state exposures and health over the life course

Ariel Azar, Sociology

My dissertation draws on several sources to understand how exposure to varying institutional and policy contexts across people’s life courses shape their health. I use cross-national harmonized longitudinal microdata, country-level institutional data for Latin American, European, and Asian countries, state-level data within the U.S, and also a novel dataset elaborated from coded international reports on pension systems and social security. With these, I seek to understand (1) how the health status of Latin American immigrants in the United States varies by the level of exposure to varying policy contexts pre-and post-migration in both their countries of origin and states of destination; (2) how certain features of pension systems can explain variation in the relationship between retirement timing and health; and (3) how variations in the relationship between loneliness and health across time and space can be explained as a function of the level of people’s exposure to defamilization policies. By showing the way life course exposures to varying institutional contexts matter for the relationship between stratification and health, I expect to contribute to the emerging intersection between political sociology, social epidemiology, and life course research, and also to add to the base of evidence informing policy interventions seeking to reduce health inequalities.


Ariel Azar is a Fulbright Foreign Student Fellow from Chile and a PhD Candidate at the Department of Sociology. His research seeks to understand the way in which institutional arrangements are capable of modeling health inequalities across time and space in different contexts and regions, and across cohorts. His research seeks to put political sociology and social epidemiology in dialogue, emphasizing how exposure to institutions across the life course matters for the distribution of health. Additionally, Ariel is interested in understanding people's attitudes towards welfare states, particularly towards health care systems. He is also interested in expanding techniques for spatial sequential data analysis.