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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

  • Kerwin Kofi Charles
  • Sheldon Danziger
  • Geng Li
  • Robert F. Schoeni

Beginning in 1999, the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) added new questions about several categories of consumption expenditure. The PSID now covers items that constitute more than seventy percent of total expenditure measured in the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE). We show that expenditure for each of the broad categories in the PSID aligns closely with corresponding measures from the CE. Using the new PSID data, we impute total expenditure in the PSID and show that this is also very close to total measured CE expenditure. For several distinct categories and for total consumption, we show that cross-sectional life cycle estimates of household expenditure activity are very similar across the two surveys. Finally, we illustrate the unique research value of the PSID for studying consumption by exploiting the survey's longitudinal design and genealogical structure to estimate the intergenerational elasticity of consumption expenditure, which is found to be in the range of 0.32-0.34.

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Paper provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its series Finance and Economics Discussion Series with number 2007-16.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2007-16
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  1. Kerwin Kofi Charles & Erik Hurst, 2002. "The Correlation of Welath Across Generations," NBER Working Papers 9314, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. F. Thomas Juster & James P. Smith, 2004. "Improving the Quality of Economic Data: Lessons from the HRS and AHEAD," Labor and Demography 0402010, EconWPA.
  3. Becketti, Sean, et al, 1988. "The Panel Study of Income Dynamics after Fourteen Years: An Evaluatio n," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(4), pages 472-92, October.
  4. Sean Becketti & William Gould & Lee Lillard & Finis Welch, 1985. "The Panel Study of Income Dynamics After Fourteen Years: An Evaluation," UCLA Economics Working Papers 361, UCLA Department of Economics.
  5. Aughinbaugh, Alison, 2000. "Reapplication and extension: intergenerational mobility in the United States," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 7(6), pages 785-796, November.
  6. Zimmerman, David J, 1992. "Regression toward Mediocrity in Economic Stature," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 409-29, June.
  7. Skinner, Jonathan, 1987. "A superior measure of consumption from the panel study of income dynamics," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 23(2), pages 213-216.
  8. Solon, Gary, 1992. "Intergenerational Income Mobility in the United States," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(3), pages 393-408, June.
  9. Fisher Jonathan D & Johnson David S, 2006. "Consumption Mobility in the United States: Evidence from Two Panel Data Sets," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 6(1), pages 1-38, September.
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