Is the Consumer Expenditure Survey representative by income?
AbstractAggregate under-reporting of household spending in the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE) can result from two fundamental types of measurement errors: higher-income households (who presumably spend more than average) are under-represented in the CE estimation sample, or there is systematic under-reporting of spending by at least some CE survey respondents. Using a new data set linking CE units to zip-code level average Adjusted Gross Income (AGI), we show that the very highest-income households are less likely to respond to the survey when they are sampled, but unit non-response rates are not associated with income over most of the income distribution. Although increasing representation at the high end of the income distribution could in principle significantly raise aggregate CE spending, the low reported average propensity to spend for higher-income respondent households could account for at least as much of the aggregate shortfall in total spending.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2012-36.
Date of creation: 2012
Date of revision:
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2012-06-13 (All new papers)
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2009.
"Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the USA: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data,"
NBER Working Papers
15320, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Richard V. Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen P. Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2009. "Recent trends in top income shares in the USA: Reconciling estimates from March CPS and IRS tax return data," Working Papers 139, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
- Burkhauser, Richard V. & Feng, Shuaizhang & Jenkins, Stephen P. & Larrimore, Jeff, 2009. "Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the USA: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data," IZA Discussion Papers 4426, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
- Richard Burkhauser & Shuaizhang Feng & Stephen Jenkins & Jeff Larrimore, 2009. "Recent Trends in Top Income Shares in the USA: Reconciling Estimates from March CPS and IRS Tax Return Data," Working Papers 09-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009.
"Unequal we stand: an empirical analysis of economic inequality in the United States, 1967-2006,"
436, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
- Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2010. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States: 1967-2006," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 15-51, January.
- Jonathan Heathcote & Fabrizio Perri & Giovanni L. Violante, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," NBER Working Papers 15483, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Heathcote, Jonathan & Perri, Fabrizio & Violante, Giovanni L, 2009. "Unequal We Stand: An Empirical Analysis of Economic Inequality in the United States, 1967-2006," CEPR Discussion Papers 7538, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
- Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 2002. "From Earnings Inequality to Consumption Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C52-C59, March.
- Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 2009.
"Are Two Cheap, Noisy Measures Better Than One Expensive, Accurate One?,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 99(2), pages 99-103, May.
- Martin Browning & Thomas Crossley, 2009. "Are two cheap, noisy measures better than one expensive, accurate one?," IFS Working Papers W09/01, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
- Thomas F. Crossley, 2009. "Measuring Consumption and Saving: Introduction," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(Special I), pages 303-307, December.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Kris Vajs).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.