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Measuring Total Household Spending in a Monthly Internet Survey: Evidence from the American Life Panel

In: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures

  • Michael D. Hurd
  • Susann Rohwedder

Beginning in May 2009 we fielded a monthly Internet survey designed to measure total household spending as the aggregate of about 40 spending components. This paper reports on a number of outcomes from 30 waves of data collection. These outcomes include sample attrition, indicators of data quality such as item nonresponse and the variance in total spending, and substantive results such as the trajectory of total spending and the trajectories of some components of spending. We conclude that high-frequency surveying for total spending is feasible and that the resulting data show expected patterns of levels and change.

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This item is provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Chapters with number 12670.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberch:12670
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  1. Melvin Stephens, Jr., 2003. "Job Loss Expectations, Realizations, and Household Consumption Behavior," NBER Working Papers 9508, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gruber, Jonathan, 1997. "The Consumption Smoothing Benefits of Unemployment Insurance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(1), pages 192-205, March.
  3. Martin Browning & Thomas F. Crossley, 2004. "Shocks, stocks and socks: smoothing consumption over a temporary income loss," CAM Working Papers 2004-05, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Applied Microeconometrics.
  4. Michael Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2008. "Methodological Innovations in Collecting Spending Data: The HRS Consumption and Activities Mail Survey," Working Papers 646, RAND Corporation Publications Department.
  5. 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.
  6. Michael D. Hurd & Susann Rohwedder, 2013. "Wealth Dynamics and Active Saving at Older Ages," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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