Amitabh Chandra, Courtney Coile & Corina Mommaerts discuss “What Can Economics Say About Alzheimer’s Disease?” in NBER working paper #27760.
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) affects one in ten people aged 65 or older and is the most expensive disease in the United States. We describe the central economic questions raised by AD. While there is overlap with the economics of aging, the defining features of the ‘economics of Alzheimer’s Disease’ is an emphasis on cognitive decline, choice by cognitively impaired patients, and a host of issues where dynamic contracts between patients and caregivers are hard to enforce. There is enormous scope for economists to contribute to our understanding of AD-related issues, including drug development, efficient care delivery, dynamic contracting within the family and with care providers, long-term care risk, financial decision-making, and public programs for AD. These topics overlap with many areas of economics — labor economics, health economics, public finance, behavioral economics, experimental economics, family economics, mechanism design, and the economics of innovation — suggesting the presence of a rich research program that should attract many economists.