Joanne Hsu (pronounced “shoo”) is a principal economist in the Division of Research and Statistics at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, where she is part of the team responsible for administering and disseminating the Survey of Consumer Finances, as well as a visiting professor at the Department of Economics, Howard University. Her research is primarily in the fields of household finance, labor economics, and survey methods, and has been published in journals including the American Economic Review, Review of Financial Studies, and Journal of Human Resources. Her work currently focuses on financial sophistication, cognitive decline, and household experiences with debt, using a combination of detailed surveys and large-scale administrative data. She completed her PhD in economics at the University of Michigan and her AB in economics and international relations at Brown University.
Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias (ADRD) are medical conditions characterized by deteriorating cognitive functions that are estimated to impact nearly 12 million older Americans by 2050. ADRD impedes independence in daily activities through symptoms including difficulties with memory and attention span, impaired judgement, and changing risk preferences. Concerningly, many of these symptoms pose a threat to financial well-being. Indeed, medical research has shown that financial decision-making is one of the earliest functional capacities to be lost under ADRD. Our research examines patterns of adverse financial behavior before and after an ADRD diagnosis using a novel linkage of large-scale financial data and health data. We find that ADRD is associated with adverse financial events that emerge years prior to clinical diagnosis.