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A Cross-country Comparison of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth between Micro Sources and National Accounts Aggregates


  • Maryse Fesseau


  • Florence Wolff


  • Maria Liviana Mattonetti



Much valuable information exists already on household economic resources (i.e. income, consumption and wealth). Indeed, the national accounts provide aggregate measures and micro sources (surveys, administrative records, and censuses) can be used to derive measures of the distribution across household groups. Over the years, however, macro and micro statisticians have tended to work separately leading to sometimes divergent results which can cause problem to users. In 2011, the OECD and Eurostat launched a joint Expert Group to carry out a study on the feasibility of compiling measures of the distribution of income, consumption and wealth across household groups that are consistent with national accounts definitions and totals. The first challenge of the Expert Group was to draw a detailed picture of the extent to which statistical information derived from micro sources can be aligned to three national accounts aggregates; 20 countries studied all (or part) of the components of adjusted disposable income, 21 all (or part) of the components of actual final consumption and 7 studied all (or part) of the components of household net worth. Results show that there are a number of identified reasons that can explain differences between micro and macro sources. Some of them were quantified and isolated showing finally that for most countries micro sources provide distributive information for most of the national accounts components but for some of them with quite significant gaps in total amounts. Overall, micro and macro totals are closer to each other for income components than for consumption and wealth components. The results also show that there is greater heterogeneity in results across countries for consumption components. Plusieurs types de sources fournissent des informations sur les ressources économiques des ménages. Les données macro-économiques des comptes nationaux fournissent des données agrégées sur le revenu, la consommation et le patrimoine de l’ensemble des ménages. Les sources microéconomiques (enquêtes, données administratives et recensement) informent sur la manière dont ces ressources économiques sont réparties entre les ménages. Au fil des années les statisticiens micro et macro ont eu tendance à travailler séparément conduisant parfois à des résultats divergents. En 2011, l’OCDE et Eurostat ont lancé un groupe de travail conjoint afin d’étudier la possibilité de produire des indicateurs sur la distribution du revenu, de la consommation et du patrimoine qui soient cohérents avec les totaux et les définitions des comptes nationaux. Le premier challenge du groupe de travail a été de définir dans quelle mesure l’information statistique issue des données micro est compatible avec trois des principaux agrégats des comptes nationaux. Ainsi, 20 pays ont étudié tout ou partie des composantes du revenu disponible ajusté, 21 pays tout ou partie des composantes de la consommation finale et 7 pays tout ou partie des composantes du patrimoine net des ménages. Les résultats montrent qu’il existe un certain nombre de raisons bien identifiées qui expliquent les différences entre les données micro et macro. Certaines d’entre elles ont pu être quantifiées par les membres du groupe d’experts. L’analyse réalisée montre que dans la plupart des pays les sources micro fournissent de l’information pour la plupart des composantes des comptes nationaux mais que pour certaines composantes les totaux issus des deux sources sont très différents. Dans l’ensemble, les totaux apparaissent plus proches pour les composantes de revenu que pour les composantes de la consommation et du patrimoine. Une plus grande hétérogénéité des résultats entre pays est constatée sur les données de consommation.

Suggested Citation

  • Maryse Fesseau & Florence Wolff & Maria Liviana Mattonetti, 2013. "A Cross-country Comparison of Household Income, Consumption and Wealth between Micro Sources and National Accounts Aggregates," OECD Statistics Working Papers 2013/3, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:stdaaa:2013/3-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Gabriel Zucman, 2016. "Distributional National Accounts: Methods and Estimates for the United States," NBER Working Papers 22945, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Brian Nolan & Max Roser & Stefan Thewissen, 2016. "GDP Per Capita Versus Median Household Income: What Gives Rise to Divergence Over Time?," LIS Working papers 672, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    3. Mark Vink, 2014. "Intergenerational Developments in Household Saving Behaviour," Treasury Working Paper Series 14/23, New Zealand Treasury.

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    consumption; health; household; income; national accounts; surveys;

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