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Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE

In: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures

Author

Listed:
  • William Passero
  • Thesia I. Garner
  • Clinton McCully

Abstract

For the United States, there are currently two federal series of data that refer to household expenditures. One is produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, using the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), and the other is produced by the Bureau of Economic Analysis, personal consumption expenditures (PCE). Weights for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) are based on CE data. However, over the years, suggestions have been made to use PCE rather than the CE as the source of weights for the CPI. Much research had been conducted to reconcile differences in scope and definitions in the CE and PCE. Included in this paper is a review of these differences along with aggregate estimates that result when one accounts for the differences. Such an exercise is important; however, to compare trends in CE and PCE over time, a concordance of comparable items in both the CE and PCE is desirable. Independently, the BLS divisions responsible for the CE and CPI have produced concordances of the CE to PCE data; staff members at BEA have also produced their own concordances. These three independent exercises have resulted in three different concordances. In this paper, a new joint concordance, developed by staff in the BEA and BLS, is presented. Using this concordance, similarities and differences in the CE and PCE are highlighted along with trends in ratios of aggregate CE and PCE over the 1992 to 2010 time period. Aggregate expenditures and ratios of CE to PCE are produced for durables, non-durables, and services Results suggest that non-durables are most alike for the CE and PCE with about 93 percent of total non-durable expenditures identified as comparable within the CE and within the PCE. Regarding trends over time and focusing on comparable goods and services only, CE to PCE ratios have steadily decreased. For total comparable goods and services, CE to PCE ratios decreased from 84 percent for 1992 to 74 percent for 2010. The greatest decline in CE to PCE ratios is for durables, with a de
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Suggested Citation

  • William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2014. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 181-203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12659
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2014. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 181-203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Jesus Fernández-Villaverde & Dirk Krueger, 2007. "Consumption over the Life Cycle: Facts from Consumer Expenditure Survey Data," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(3), pages 552-565, August.
    3. Garner, Thesia I. & Short, Kathleen, 2009. "Accounting for owner-occupied dwelling services: Aggregates and distributions," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(3), pages 233-248, September.
    4. Adam Bee & Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2013. "The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 204-240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    5. Garry Barrett & Peter Levell & Kevin Milligan, 2014. "A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 263-286, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2007. "Further Results on Measuring the Well-Being of the Poor Using Income and Consumption," NBER Working Papers 13413, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    7. Jonathan A. Parker & Bruce Preston, 2005. "Precautionary Saving and Consumption Fluctuations," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1119-1143, September.
    8. Bruce D. Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2009. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Poverty," Working Papers 0907, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
    9. Erich Battistin, 2002. "Errors in Survey Reports of Consumption Expenditures," 10th International Conference on Panel Data, Berlin, July 5-6, 2002 C4-2, International Conferences on Panel Data.
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    Cited by:

    1. William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2014. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 181-203, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Peter Levell & James Smith, 2015. "Life-cycle consumption patterns at older ages in the US and the UK: can medical expenditures explain the difference?," IFS Working Papers W15/12, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    3. Arnold Katz, 2017. "Imputing Rents to Owner-Occupied Housing by Directly Modelling Their Distribution," BEA Working Papers 0144, Bureau of Economic Analysis.
    4. Campos, Rodolfo G. & Reggio, Iliana, 2014. "Measurement error in imputation procedures," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 122(2), pages 197-202.
    5. Peter Ganong & Pascal J. Noel, 2019. "Consumer Spending During Unemployment: Positive and Normative Implications," NBER Working Papers 25417, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    6. Gordon, Hal & Burtraw, Dallas & Williams, Roberton, 2015. "A Microsimulation Model of the Distributional Impacts of Climate Policies," Discussion Papers dp-14-40, Resources For the Future.
    7. James Banks & Richard Blundell & Peter Levell & James P. Smith, 2019. "Life-Cycle Consumption Patterns at Older Ages in the United States and the United Kingdom: Can Medical Expenditures Explain the Difference?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(3), pages 27-54, August.
    8. Peter Ganong & Pascal Noel, 2019. "Consumer Spending During Unemployment: Positive and Normative Implications," Working Papers 2019-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    9. Scott Schuh, 2017. "Measuring consumer expenditures with payment diaries," Working Papers 17-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, revised 20 Jan 2017.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D12 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • Y10 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts - - - Data: Tables and Charts

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