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Survey Instruments and the Reports of Consumption Expenditures: Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys

  • Battistin, Erich
  • Padula, Mario

This paper provides evidence on the relevance of the collection mode for the analysis of consumption data for the United States using complementary data sets from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CEX). We first show that population figures from consumption reports obtained with diaries markedly differ from those obtained using recall data. We then exploit multiple measurements of food expenditure available in the CEX to identify the effects of the collection mode on important features of the distribution of consumption (not just its mean). Finally, we show how to purge the expenditure measurements from most of the effects of the collection mode and thus obtain an improved measure of consumption that combines information from multiple reports in the CEX. The paper concludes by suggesting some guidelines for empirical research that have important implications for the measurement of inequality and well being.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8051.

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Date of creation: Oct 2010
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8051
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  1. Richard Blundell & Luigi Pistaferri & Ian Preston, 2004. "Consumption inequality and partial insurance," IFS Working Papers W04/28, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  2. Winter, Joachim, 0000. "Design effects in survey-based measures of household consumption," Sonderforschungsbereich 504 Publications 02-34, Sonderforschungsbereich 504, Universität Mannheim;Sonderforschungsbereich 504, University of Mannheim.
  3. Bruce Meyer & James X. Sullivan, 2010. "Five Decades of Consumption and Income Proverty," Working Papers 2010-003, Becker Friedman Institute for Research In Economics.
  4. Hong, Han & Tamer, Elie, 2003. "A simple estimator for nonlinear error in variable models," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 117(1), pages 1-19, November.
  5. Erich Battistin, 2003. "Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures," IFS Working Papers W03/07, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  6. Firpo, Sergio Pinheiro & Ridder, Geert, 2010. "Bounds on functionals of the distribution treatment effects," Textos para discussão 201, Escola de Economia de São Paulo, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  7. Ernst R. Berndt & Charles R. Hulten, 2007. "Hard-to-Measure Goods and Services: Essays in Honor of Zvi Griliches," NBER Books, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc, number bern07-1.
  8. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Sheldon Danziger & Geng Li & Robert F. Schoeni, 2006. "Studying consumption with the Panel Study of Income Dynamics: comparisons with the Consumer Expenditure Survey and an application to the intergenerational transmission of well-being," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2007-16, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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