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The Macroeconomics of Alzheimer's: A Few Scenarios

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  • Christian Zimmermann

    (Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis)

Abstract

Dementia-like diseases like Alzheimer are forecasted to affect a growing proportion of the population within decades. These diseases cannot be treated but their likelihood can be forecasted with genetic analysis and through memory tests, which has implications for forward looking behavior. The applied microeconomic literature has reasonably well documented the costs to the affected people and their family. There is, however, no attempt to understand the macroeconomic implications of such diseases affecting a significant share of the population. This paper offers a first reflection in this regard, building a life-cycle model with overlapping generations. I study several scenarios where individuals respond in various ways to the likelihood of being affected by the disease in the future or to be unexpectedly hit by it. I find that there can be very diverse and divergent macroeconomic outcomes whose selection can be influenced by policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Christian Zimmermann, 2014. "The Macroeconomics of Alzheimer's: A Few Scenarios," 2014 Meeting Papers 916, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  • Handle: RePEc:red:sed014:916
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