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The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements

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  • Battistin, Erich

    (University of Maryland)

  • De Nadai, Michele

    (University of Padova)

  • Krishnan, Nandini

    (World Bank)

Abstract

While household well-being derives from long-term average rates of consumption, welfare comparisons typically rely on shorter-duration survey measurements. We develop a new strategy to identify the distribution of these long-term rates by leveraging a large-scale randomization in Iraq that elicited repeated short-duration measurements from diaries and recall questions. Identification stems from diary-recall differences in reports from the same household, does not require reports to be error-free, and hinges on a research design with broad replicability. Our strategy delivers practical and costeffective suggestions for designing survey modules to yield the closest measurements of consumption well-being. In addition, we find little empirical support for the claim that acquisition diaries yield the most accurate measurement of poverty and inequality and offer new insights to interpret and reconcile diary-recall differences in household surveys.

Suggested Citation

  • Battistin, Erich & De Nadai, Michele & Krishnan, Nandini, 2020. "The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements," IZA Discussion Papers 13222, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp13222
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    measurement of inequality and poverty; modes of data collection; household surveys;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • C81 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Data Collection and Data Estimation Methodology; Computer Programs - - - Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • E21 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Consumption; Saving; Wealth
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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