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Asking Households about Expenditures: What Have We Learned?

In: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures

  • Thomas F. Crossley
  • Joachim K. Winter

When designing household surveys, including surveys that measure consumption expenditure, numerous choices need to be made. Which survey mode should be used? Do recall questions or diaries provide more reliable expenditure data? How should the concept of a household be defined? How should the length of the recall period, the level of aggregation of expenditure items, and the response format be chosen? How are responses affected by incentives? Can computer-assisted surveys be used to reduce or correct response error in real time? In this paper, we provide a selective review of the literature on these questions. We also suggest some promising directions for future research.

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This chapter was published in:
  • Christopher Carroll & Thomas Crossley & John Sabelhaus, 2015. "Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number carr11-1, September.
  • This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12666.
    Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12666
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    8. Essig, Lothar & Winter, Joachim, 2003. "Item nonresponse to financial questions in household surveys: An experimental study of interviewer and mode effects," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 05-18, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
    9. Naeem Ahmed & Matthew Brzozowski & Thomas Crossley, 2006. "Measurement errors in recall food consumption data," IFS Working Papers W06/21, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
    10. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2009. "Methodological Innovations in Collecting Spending Data: The HRS Consumption and Activities Mail Survey," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 30(Special I), pages 435-459, December.
    11. Hoderlein, Stefan & Winter, Joachim, 2009. "Structural Measurement Errors in Nonseparable Models," Discussion Papers in Economics 9192, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
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    24. Matthew Brzozowski & Thomas F. Crossley, 2011. "Viewpoint: Measuring the well-being of the poor with income or consumption: a Canadian perspective," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 44(1), pages 88-106, February.
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