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Measuring household spending and payment habits: the role of “typical” and “specific” time frames in survey questions

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  • Marco Angrisani
  • Arie Kapteyn
  • Scott Schuh

Abstract

We designed and fielded an experimental module in the American Life Panel (ALP) where we ask individuals to report the number of their purchases and the amount paid by debit cards, cash, credit cards, and personal checks. The design of the experiment features several stages of randomization. First, three different groups of sample participants are randomly assigned to an entry month (July, August, or September, 2011) and are to be interviewed four times during a year, once every quarter. Second, for each method of payment a sequence of questions elicits spending behavior during a day, week, month, and year. At the time of the first interview, this sequence is randomly assigned to refer to “specific” time spans or to “typical” time spans. In all subsequent interviews, a “specific” sequence becomes a “typical” sequence and vice versa. In this paper, we analyze the data from the first wave of the survey. We show that the type— specific or typical— and length of recall periods greatly influence household reporting behavior.

Suggested Citation

  • Marco Angrisani & Arie Kapteyn & Scott Schuh, 2012. "Measuring household spending and payment habits: the role of “typical” and “specific” time frames in survey questions," Working Papers 12-7, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedbwp:12-7
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jean-Marc Robin, 1993. "Econometric Analysis of the Short-run Fluctuations of Households' Purchases," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, pages 923-934.
    2. Kevin Foster & Erik Meijer & Scott Schuh & Michael A. Zabek, 2011. "The 2009 survey of consumer payment choice," Public Policy Discussion Paper 11-1, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas, 1987. "Bivariate alternatives to the Tobit model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 179-200.
    4. Chesher, Andrew & Irish, Margaret, 1987. "Residual analysis in the grouped and censored normal linear model," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 34(1-2), pages 33-61.
    5. Deaton, Angus & Irish, Margaret, 1984. "Statistical models for zero expenditures in household budgets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 23(1-2), pages 59-80.
    6. Schuh, Scott & Stavins, Joanna, 2010. "Why are (some) consumers (finally) writing fewer checks? The role of payment characteristics," Journal of Banking & Finance, Elsevier, vol. 34(8), pages 1745-1758, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Hitczenko, Marcin, 2013. "Optimal recall period length in consumer payment surveys," Working Papers 13-16, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    2. Angrisani, Marco & Foster, Kevin & Hitczenko, Marcin, 2013. "The 2010 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice: technical appendix," Research Data Report 13-3, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    3. Schuh, Scott, 2017. "Measuring consumer expenditures with payment diaries," Working Papers 17-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    4. Angrisani, Marco & Foster, Kevin & Hitczenko, Marcin, 2015. "The 2013 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice: technical appendix," Research Data Report 15-5, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    5. Angrisani, Marco & Foster, Kevin & Hitczenko, Marcin, 2014. "The 2011 and 2012 Surveys of Consumer Payment Choice: technical appendix," Research Data Report 14-2, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Payment systems ; Debit cards ; Cash transactions ; Credit cards ; Checks ; Consumer surveys;

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