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

In: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures

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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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Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12665
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Sabelhaus & David Johnson & Stephen Ash & David Swanson & Thesia I. Garner & John Greenlees & Steve Henderson, 2014. "Is the Consumer Expenditure Survey Representative by Income?," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 241-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 1-19.
    3. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 3-71.
    4. 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, pages 395-395.
    5. Angus Deaton, 2005. "Measuring Poverty in a Growing World (or Measuring Growth in a Poor World)," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 1-19.
    6. Anthony B. Atkinson & Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2011. "Top Incomes in the Long Run of History," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, pages 3-71.
    7. Slesnick, Daniel T, 1992. "Aggregate Consumption and Saving in the Postwar United States," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, pages 585-597.
    8. Corsetti, Giancarlo & Dedola, Luca, 2005. "A macroeconomic model of international price discrimination," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 129-155, September.
    9. 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 371-392, December.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Lauren E. Jones & Kevin S. Milligan & Mark Stabile, 2015. "Child Cash Benefits and Family Expenditures: Evidence from the National Child Benefit," NBER Working Papers 21101, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Gupta, Abhimanyu & Robinson, Peter M., 2015. "Inference on higher-order spatial autoregressive models with increasingly many parameters," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, pages 19-31.
    3. Abi Adams & Laurens Cherchye & Bram De Rock & Ewout Verriest, 2014. "Consume Now or Later? Time Inconsistency, Collective Choice, and Revealed Preference," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, pages 4147-4183.
    4. Brewer, Mike & O'Dea, Cormac, 2012. "Measuring living standards with income and consumption: evidence from the UK," ISER Working Paper Series 2012-05, Institute for Social and Economic Research.
    5. Emla Fitzsimons & Bansi Malde & Marcos Vera-Hernández, 2016. "Spillovers of Community-Based Health Interventions on Consumption Smoothing," Studies in Economics 1611, School of Economics, University of Kent.
    6. 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.
    7. Thomas F. Crossley & Joachim K. Winter, 2014. "Asking Households about Expenditures: What Have We Learned?," NBER Chapters,in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 23-50 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    8. Lucia Alessi & Eric Ghysels & Luca Onorante & Richard Peach & Simon Potter, 2014. "Central Bank Macroeconomic Forecasting During the Global Financial Crisis: The European Central Bank and Federal Reserve Bank of New York Experiences," Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(4), pages 483-500, October.
    9. 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.
    10. Peter Levell & Barra Roantree & Jonathan Shaw, 2017. "Mobility and the lifetime distributional impact of tax and transfer reforms," IFS Working Papers W17/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    11. Sule Alan & Kadir Atalay & Thomas F. Crossley, 2006. "Do the Rich Save More in Canada?," Quantitative Studies in Economics and Population Research Reports 406, McMaster University.
    12. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Joachim Winter, 2014. "The Measurement of Household Consumption Expenditures," Annual Review of Economics, Annual Reviews, vol. 6(1), pages 475-501, August.
    13. Bunn, Philip & Rostom, May, 2015. "Household debt and spending in the United Kingdom," Bank of England working papers 554, Bank of England.
    14. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley & Melanie Lührmann, 2016. "Durable Purchases over the Later Life Cycle," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, pages 145-169.
    15. William Passero & Thesia I. Garner & Clinton McCully, 2013. "Understanding the Relationship: CE Survey and PCE," Working Papers 462, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    16. Damar, H. Evren & Gropp, Reint & Mordel, Adi, 2013. "Bank's financial distress, lending supply and consumption expenditure," SAFE Working Paper Series 39, Research Center SAFE - Sustainable Architecture for Finance in Europe, Goethe University Frankfurt.
    17. repec:esx:essedp:736 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C83 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Survey Methods; Sampling Methods
    • E01 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - General - - - Measurement and Data on National Income and Product Accounts and Wealth; Environmental Accounts
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth

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