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A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures Across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods

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  • Garry Barrett
  • Peter Levell
  • Kevin Milligan

Abstract

This paper presents a comparative assessment of the performance of the household expenditure survey programs in Australia, Canada, the UK and US. Cross-country and time series variation in survey methodology and experience is used to assess the role of factors influencing the performance of the household surveys. First, coverage of aggregate expenditure relative to national account is examined. Coverage rates are highest in Canada and the UK. Over the past three decades coverage remained fairly stable in Canada and Australia; in the UK and US coverage rates declined sharply. Survey response rates and top income shares are then considered in tandem with coverage rates. Falls in response rates are found to be predictive of changes in coverage rates. Further, the change in coverage rates over time coincided with the growing concentration of income, indicating that growing inequality contributed to declining coverage rates. Specific expenditure components were then examined. There was no clear pattern by collection method. Most evident is the high and stable coverage of regularly purchased items (e.g. food), along with the more volatile coverage of irregular and larger expenditure items (e.g. vehicles, furniture and household equipment). The aggregate patterns in coverage cannot be attributed to specific expenditure components or collection methods.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19544.

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Date of creation: Oct 2013
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Publication status: Forthcoming: A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures across Countries using Differing Survey Methods , Garry Barrett, Peter Levell, Kevin Milligan. in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures , Carroll, Crossley, and Sabelhaus. 2014
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:19544

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  1. Angus Deaton, 2004. "Measuring poverty in a growing world (or measuring growth in a poor world)," Working Papers 178, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Research Program in Development Studies..
  2. Adler, Hans J & Wolfson, Michael, 1988. "A Prototype Micro-Macro Link for the Canadian Household Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 34(4), pages 371-92, December.
  3. Giovanni D'Alessio & Ivan Faiella, 2002. "Non-response behaviour in the Bank of ItalyÂ’s Survey of Household Income and Wealth," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 462, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  4. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2009. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," NBER Working Papers 15408, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Angus Deaton, 2005. "ERRATUM: Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 87(2), pages 395-395, May.
  6. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1992. "Aggregate Consumption and Saving in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(4), pages 585-97, November.
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Cited by:
  1. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2013. "Do the Rich Save More in Canada?," Koç University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum Working Papers 1312, Koc University-TUSIAD Economic Research Forum.
  2. Thomas F. Crossley & Joachim K. Winter, 2013. "Asking Households About Expenditures: What Have We Learned?," NBER Working Papers 19543, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Atalay, Kadir & Whelan, Stephen & Yates, Judith, 2013. "Housing Wealth and Household Consumption: New Evidence from Australia and Canada," Working Papers 2013-04, University of Sydney, School of Economics.
  4. repec:ese:iserwp:2012-05 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2014. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mike Brewer & Cormac O'Dea, 2012. "Measuring living standards with income and consumption: evidence from the UK," IFS Working Papers W12/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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