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.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 19589.
Date of creation: Oct 2013
Date of revision:
Publication status: Forthcoming: Is the Consumer Expenditure Survey Representative by Income? , John Sabelhaus, David Johnson, Stephen Ash, David Swanson, Thesia Garner, John Greenlees, Steve Henderson. in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures , Carroll, Crossley, and Sabelhaus. 2014
Contact details of provider:
Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
- D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
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 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,"
09-26, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
- 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," ISER Working Paper Series 2009-27, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- Orazio Attanasio & Gabriella Berloffa & Richard Blundell & Ian Preston, 2002. "From Earnings Inequality to Consumption Inequality," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(478), pages C52-C59, March.
- Thomas F. Crossley, 2009. "Measuring Consumption and Saving: Introduction," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(Special I), pages 303-307, December.
- Rodolfo G. Campos & Iliana Reggio, 2013.
"Measurement error in imputation procedures,"
Banco de Espaï¿½a Working Papers
1322, Banco de Espa�a.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ().
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.