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Survey Instruments and the Reports of Consumption Expenditures: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys

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Abstract

This paper provides evidence on the relevance of the collection mode for the analysis of consumption data for the United States using complementary data sets from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CEX). We first show that population figures from consumption reports obtained with diaries markedly differ from those obtained using recall data. We then exploit multiple measurements of food expenditure available in the CEX to identify the effects of the collection mode on important features of the distribution of consumption (not just its mean). Finally, we show how to purge the expenditure measurements from most of the effects of the collection mode and thus obtain an improved measure of consumption that combines information from multiple reports in the CEX. The paper concludes by suggesting some guidelines for empirical research that have important implications for the measurement of inequality and well being.

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 259.

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Date of creation: 29 Sep 2010
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:259

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Keywords: Consumption; Data Collection Methods; Rank Invariance;

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  1. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," NBER Working Papers 14827, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro & Ridder, Geert, 2010. "Bounds on functionals of the distribution treatment effects," Textos para discussão 201, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  3. Erich Battistin, 2003. "Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W03/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  4. Hong, Han & Tamer, Elie, 2003. "A simple estimator for nonlinear error in variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 1-19, November.
  5. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Sheldon Danziger & Geng Li & Robert F. Schoeni, 2006. "Studying consumption with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics: comparisons with the Consumer Expenditure Survey and an application to the intergenerational transmission of well-being," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-16, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  6. Ernst R. Berndt & Charles R. Hulten, 2007. "Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern07-1, octubre-d.
  7. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2008. "Consumption Inequality and Partial Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 98(5), pages 1887-1921, December.
  8. Winter, Joachim, 0000. "Design effects in survey-based measures of household consumption," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-34, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim & Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
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Cited by:
  1. Rodolfo G. Campos & Ilina Reggio, 2012. "Measurement error and imputation of consumption in survey data," Economics Working Papers we1219, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  2. Giacomo de Giorgi & Luca Gambetti, 2012. "The Effects of Government Spending on the Distribution of Consumption," Working Papers 645, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  3. Campos, Rodolfo G. & Reggio, Iliana, 2014. "Measurement error in imputation procedures," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 197-202.
  4. Giacomo De Giorgi & Luca Gambetti, 2012. "Consumption Heterogenity Over the Business Cycle," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 904.12, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  5. Rodolfo G. Campos & Ilina Reggio & Dionisio García-Píriz, 2012. "Micro vs. macro consumption data : the cyclical properties of the consumer expenditure survey," Economics Working Papers we1220, Universidad Carlos III, Departamento de Economía.
  6. Thomas F. Crossley & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "Asking Households about Expenditures: What Have We Learned?," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.

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