NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures Across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods

Garry Barrett, Peter Levell, Kevin Milligan

NBER Working Paper No. 19544
Issued in October 2013
NBER Program(s):   EFG   PE

This paper presents a comparative assessment of the performance of the household expenditure survey programs in Australia, Canada, the UK and US. Cross-country and time series variation in survey methodology and experience is used to assess the role of factors influencing the performance of the household surveys.

First, coverage of aggregate expenditure relative to national account is examined. Coverage rates are highest in Canada and the UK. Over the past three decades coverage remained fairly stable in Canada and Australia; in the UK and US coverage rates declined sharply. Survey response rates and top income shares are then considered in tandem with coverage rates. Falls in response rates are found to be predictive of changes in coverage rates. Further, the change in coverage rates over time coincided with the growing concentration of income, indicating that growing inequality contributed to declining coverage rates.

Specific expenditure components were then examined. There was no clear pattern by collection method. Most evident is the high and stable coverage of regularly purchased items (e.g. food), along with the more volatile coverage of irregular and larger expenditure items (e.g. vehicles, furniture and household equipment). The aggregate patterns in coverage cannot be attributed to specific expenditure components or collection methods.

download in pdf format
   (228 K)

email paper

Machine-readable bibliographic record - MARC, RIS, BibTeX

Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w19544

Published: A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods, Garry Barrett, Peter Levell, Kevin Milligan. in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, Carroll, Crossley, and Sabelhaus. 2015

Users who downloaded this paper also downloaded these:
Crossley and Winter w19543 Asking Households About Expenditures: What Have We Learned?
Barrett, Levell, and Milligan A Comparison of Micro and Macro Expenditure Measures across Countries Using Differing Survey Methods
Kreiner, Lassen, and Leth-Petersen w19539 Measuring the Accuracy of Survey Responses using Administrative Register Data: Evidence from Denmark
Bee, Meyer, and Sullivan w18308 The Validity of Consumption Data: Are the Consumer Expenditure Interview and Diary Surveys Informative?
Dee and Wyckoff w19529 Incentives, Selection, and Teacher Performance: Evidence from IMPACT
 
Publications
Activities
Meetings
NBER Videos
Themes
Data
People
About

National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138; 617-868-3900; email: info@nber.org

Contact Us