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Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?

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  • Martin Ravallion

    (World Bank)

Abstract

In a cross-country data set for developing and transitional economies, private consumption per capita from the national accounts deviates on average from mean household income or expenditure based on national sample surveys. Growth rates also differ systematically, so that the ratio of the survey mean to mean consumption from the national accounts tends to fall over time. The exceptions to these general findings are revealing, however. There are strong regional effects. The aggregate difference in the levels is due more to income surveys than to expenditure surveys. Divergence over time is mainly due to the severe data problems in the (contracting) transition economies. © 2003 President and Fellows of Harvard College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Suggested Citation

  • Martin Ravallion, 2003. "Measuring Aggregate Welfare in Developing Countries: How Well Do National Accounts and Surveys Agree?," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 85(3), pages 645-652, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:tpr:restat:v:85:y:2003:i:3:p:645-652
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    1. Ravallion, Martin & Chen, Shaohua, 1997. "What Can New Survey Data Tell Us about Recent Changes in Distribution and Poverty?," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 11(2), pages 357-382, May.
    2. Rendtel, Ulrich & Langeheine, Rolf & Berntsen, Roland, 1998. "The Estimation of Poverty Dynamics Using Different Measurements of Household Income," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(1), pages 81-98, March.
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    5. Ruggles, Richard & Ruggles, Nancy D, 1986. "The Integration of Macro and Micro Data for the Household Sector," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 32(3), pages 245-276, September.
    6. Margaret Grosh & Paul Glewwe, 2000. "Designing Household Survey Questionnaires for Developing Countries," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 25338, July.
    7. Martin Ravallion & Shubham Chaudhuri, 1997. "Risk and Insurance in Village India: Comment," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(1), pages 171-184, January.
    8. Wu, Harry X, 2000. "China's GDP Level and Growth Performance: Alternative Estimates and the Implications," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 46(4), pages 475-499, December.
    9. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1998. "Are Our Data Relevant to the Theory? The Case of Aggregate Consumption Expenditures, and Empirical Consumption and Savings," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, American Statistical Association, vol. 16(1), pages 52-61, January.
    10. Datt, Gaurav & Ravallion, Martin, 1992. "Growth and redistribution components of changes in poverty measures : A decomposition with applications to Brazil and India in the 1980s," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(2), pages 275-295, April.
    11. Schmidt-Hebbel, K. & Serven, L., 1997. "Saving Across the World: Puzzles and Policies," World Bank - Discussion Papers 354, World Bank.
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