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Comparing Micro and Macro Sources for Household Accounts in the United States: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

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  • Lisa J. Dettling
  • Sebastian Devlin-Foltz
  • Jacob Krimmel
  • Sarah Pack
  • Jeffrey P. Thompson

Abstract

Household income, spending, and net worth are key inputs in macroeconomic forecasting and economic research. Macro-level data sources are often used to measure household accounts, but lack important information about heterogeneity across different types of households that can be found in micro-level data sources. This paper compares aggregates computed based on one micro-level data source--the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF)--with macro-level sources of information on household accounts. We find that on most measures, aggregates computed from the SCF line up well with macro-level data sources once we construct comparable series. Our results imply that researchers and policy makers can be confident in making macroeconomic inferences from household-level surveys like the SCF.

Suggested Citation

  • Lisa J. Dettling & Sebastian Devlin-Foltz & Jacob Krimmel & Sarah Pack & Jeffrey P. Thompson, 2015. "Comparing Micro and Macro Sources for Household Accounts in the United States: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2015-86, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgfe:2015-86
    DOI: 10.17016/FEDS.2015.086
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    File URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.086
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Sabelhaus & David Johnson & Stephen Ash & David Swanson & Thesia I. Garner & John Greenlees & Steve Henderson, 2014. "Is the Consumer Expenditure Survey Representative by Income?," NBER Chapters, in: Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, pages 241-262, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Ampudia, Miguel & Pavlickova, Akmaral & Slacalek, Jiri & Vogel, Edgar, 2016. "Household heterogeneity in the euro area since the onset of the Great Recession," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 181-197.
    3. Robert Argento & Victoria L. Bryant & John Sabelhaus, 2015. "Early Withdrawals From Retirement Accounts During The Great Recession," Contemporary Economic Policy, Western Economic Association International, vol. 33(1), pages 1-16, January.
    4. Jesse Bricker & Jeffrey P. Thompson, 2014. "Does education loan debt influence household financial distress? An assessment using the 2007-09 SCF Panel," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-90, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    5. Jesse Bricker & Alice Henriques & Jacob Krimmel & John Sabelhaus, 2016. "Measuring Income and Wealth at the Top Using Administrative and Survey Data," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 47(1 (Spring), pages 261-331.
    6. Jacob Krimmel & Kevin B. Moore & John Sabelhaus & Paul A. Smith, 2013. "The current state of U.S. household balance sheets," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, issue Sep, pages 337-359.
    7. Lisa J. Dettling & Joanne W. Hsu, 2014. "The State of Young Adults’ Balance Sheets: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances," Review, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, vol. 96(4), pages 305-330.
    8. Lisa J. Dettling & Joanne W. Hsu, 2014. "Returning to the Nest: Debt and Parental Co-residence Among Young Adults," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-80, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Alina K. Bartscher & Moritz Kuhn & Moritz Schularick & Ulrike I. Steins, 2020. "Modigliani Meets Minsky: Inequality, Debt, and Financial Fragility in America, 1950-2016," Staff Reports 924, Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
    2. Fisher, Jonathan D. & Johnson, David S. & Smeeding, Timothy M. & Thompson, Jeffrey P., 2020. "Estimating the marginal propensity to consume using the distributions of income, consumption, and wealth," Journal of Macroeconomics, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    3. Jesse Bricker & Lars Peter Hansen & Alice Henriques Volz, 2018. "How Much has Wealth Concentration Grown in the United States? A Re-Examination of Data from 2001-2013," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2018-024, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    4. Brett A. Mccully & Karen M. Pence & Daniel J. Vine, 2019. "How Much Are Car Purchases Driven by Home Equity Withdrawal?," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 51(5), pages 1403-1426, August.
    5. Jesse Bricker & Kevin B. Moore & Jeffrey P. Thompson, 2019. "Trends in household portfolio composition," Working Papers 19-9, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
    6. Jesse Bricker & Geng Li, 2017. "Credit Scores, Social Capital, and Stock Market Participation," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2017-008, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    7. Michael M. Batty & Jesse Bricker & Joseph S. Briggs & Alice Henriques Volz & Elizabeth Ball Holmquist & Susan Hume McIntosh & Kevin B. Moore & Eric Nielsen & Sarah Reber & Molly Shatto & Kamila Sommer, 2019. "Introducing the Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2019-017, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
    8. Michael Batty & Jesse Bricker & Joseph Briggs & Sarah Friedman & Danielle Nemschoff & Eric Nielsen & Kamila Sommer & Alice Henriques Volz, 2020. "The Distributional Financial Accounts of the United States," NBER Chapters, in: Measuring and Understanding the Distribution and Intra/Inter-Generational Mobility of Income and Wealth, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    9. Jesse Bricker & Alice Henriques & Jacob Krimmel & John Sabelhaus, 2016. "Estimating Top Income and Wealth Shares: Sensitivity to Data and Methods," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(5), pages 641-645, May.

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