Asking income and consumption questions in the same survey: what are the risks?
AbstractSample surveys providing high quality information on both total household expenditure (consumption) and income are not commonly available. Nevertheless, surveys focusing on income usually do collect some information on expenditure data. A main drawback of this practice is that it could let some researchers think that both sets of information have similar accuracy, as they are derived from the same survey. This paper provides an empirical investigation of the consequences of such an assumption. We draw on the Survey of Household Income and Wealth (SHIW, thereafter) as a case study, since it collects information on both income and consumption. We combine this survey with the information coming from other surveys that are assumed to be more reliable than the SHIW for specific items. On average, we find that the underestimation of household income is lower than the one relating to consumption. As a consequence, in the survey saving rates are likely to be overestimated. We also find evidence that measurement error in income data is proportionally higher for high incomes. This does not appear to be the case for consumption data. Household saving is likely to be overestimated, especially for households in the low income classes. Finally, we find evidence that measurement error may bias the relationship between household savings and its determinants.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area in its series Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) with number 908.
Date of creation: Apr 2013
Date of revision:
measurement error; household income; consumption; imputation;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C25 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
- C42 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Survey Methods
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
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