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Dementia Risk and Financial Decision Making by Older Households: The Impact of Information

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  • Joanne W. Hsu
  • Robert Willis

Abstract

The cognitive ability needed to manage finances is a form of human capital. Dementias cause progressive declines in cognition. We analyze how information about decline affects the choice of the household financial decision maker using longitudinal data on older couples. We find that as the financial decision maker's cognition declines, financial management is eventually turned over to the spouse, often well after experiencing difficulties handling money. Couples who control their retirement accounts and are at greatest risk from financial mismanagement are much more likely to shift responsibility to a spouse in response to a diagnosis of memory disease than those with fixed incomes.

Suggested Citation

  • Joanne W. Hsu & Robert Willis, 2013. "Dementia Risk and Financial Decision Making by Older Households: The Impact of Information," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 7(4), pages 340-377.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jhucap:doi:10.1086/674105
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/674105
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    Cited by:

    1. Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold, 2016. "The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages Full Access," American Journal of Health Economics, MIT Press, vol. 2(4), pages 463-488, Fall.
    2. Anek Belbase & Geoffrey T. Sanzenbacher, 2016. "Cognitive Impairment and Social Security's Representative Payee Program," Working Papers, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College wp2016-12, Center for Retirement Research.
    3. Johnston, David W. & Kassenboehmer, Sonja C. & Shields, Michael A., 2016. "Financial decision-making in the household: Exploring the importance of survey respondent, health, cognitive ability and personality," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 132(PA), pages 42-61.
    4. Padmaja Ayyagari & David Frisvold, 2015. "The Impact of Social Security Income on Cognitive Function at Older Ages," NBER Working Papers 21484, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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