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When can micro properties be used to predict aggregate demand?




Heterogeneity in consumer behaviour creates differences in demand responses, which may create problems with aggregation across consumers. If aggregation problems exist, results from estimation based on aggregate data may prove difficult to interpret. Using estimation results from micro data to predict aggregate demand responses may also create disaggregation bias (the reverse aggregation problem). The aim of this paper is to discuss potential problems of using micro data to predict aggregate demand, and how such problems relate to the linear and non-linear aggregation problem. We also expand the theories of linear and non-linear aggregation to the case in which prices vary across agents. We formulate and test criteria for aggregation by using data on Norwegian household electricity consumption. We find clear evidence of aggregation problems, as heterogeneity in both price and income derivatives are significant. We thus expect to experience problems with aggregation when analysing Norwegian household electricity consumption.

Suggested Citation

  • Bente Halvorsen, 2006. "When can micro properties be used to predict aggregate demand?," Discussion Papers 452, Statistics Norway, Research Department.
  • Handle: RePEc:ssb:dispap:452

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Blundell, Richard & Meghir, Costas & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "Aggregation and consumer behaviour: some recent results," Ricerche Economiche, Elsevier, vol. 47(3), pages 235-252, September.
    2. Buse, Adolf, 1992. "Aggregation, Distribution and Dynamics in the Linear and Quadratic Expenditure Systems," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 74(1), pages 45-53, February.
    3. Frank Denton & Dean Mountain, 2004. "Aggregation effects on price and expenditure elasticities in a quadratic almost ideal demand system," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 37(3), pages 613-628, August.
    4. Lau, Lawrence J. & Wu, Ho-Mou, 1996. "Exact aggregation under summability and homogeneity with individually variable prices," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 50(3), pages 329-335, March.
    5. Denton, Frank T. & Mountain, Dean C., 2001. "Income distribution and aggregation/disaggregation biases in the measurement of consumer demand elasticities," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 21-28, October.
    6. Stoker, Thomas M, 1986. "Simple Tests of Distributional Effects on Macroeconomic Equations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(4), pages 763-795, August.
    7. Lau, Lawrence J., 1982. "A note on the fundamental theorem of exact aggregation," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 119-126.
    8. Blundell, Richard & Pashardes, Panos & Weber, Guglielmo, 1993. "What Do We Learn About Consumer Demand Patterns from Micro Data?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(3), pages 570-597, June.
    9. Lau, Lawrence J. & Wu, Ho-mou, 1987. "Exact aggregation when prices are variable across individuals," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 25(1), pages 3-7.
    10. Deaton, Angus S & Muellbauer, John, 1980. "An Almost Ideal Demand System," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(3), pages 312-326, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Bente Halvorsen & Bodil M. Larsen, 2008. "The Role of Heterogeneous Demand for Temporal and Structural Aggregation Bias," Discussion Papers 537, Statistics Norway, Research Department.

    More about this item


    Aggregation problems; Electricity demand; Microeconometrics.;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D1 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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