Bureau of Labor Statistics
NBER Working Papers and Publications
|July 2014||Exploring a Balance Edit Approach in the Consumer Expenditure Quarterly Interview Survey|
with Scott Fricker, Brandon Kopp
in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, Christopher D. Carroll, Thomas F. Crossley, and John Sabelhaus, editors
Early expenditure surveys conducted by the BLS (e.g., 1935-36 Study of Consumer Purchases; the 1950 Survey of Consumer Expenditures) used a 'balance edit' to check for consistency among reported expenditures, income, and asset and liability totals; sample units whose expenditures exceeded income by more than 10 percent were followed up and re-interviewed, or removed from the sample. This balancing procedure was eliminated prior to the establishment of the Consumer Expenditure (CE) survey in 1972 because it was deemed 'judgmental' and not operationally feasible. This chapter describes a small lab study designed to test whether such a balance-edit approach could be re-introduced in the CE. We found that 18 of 19 participants in this study provided reports in the initial interview that were ...