Introduction to "Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures"
The chapters in this volume approach the issue of improving the measurement of consumption expenditures from many different perspectives. There are also connections between the various chapters and the National Academy of Science (NAS) report on the proposed Consumer Expenditure (CE) survey redesign, which was published around the same time that these CRIW conference presentations were prepared for final publication in this volume. This introductory chapter provides an overview of the premise and goals for the CRIW conference, and summarizes the contributions in the sixteen individual CRIW conference contributions, with a particular focus on how each chapter relates to the proposed CE redesign and NAS report. The first chapter in the volume provides a review of the current state of knowledge about household expenditure surveys. The next four chapters are focused on why governments collect expenditure data, and how those objectives should guide the redesign process. Chapters five through ten focus on specific measurement problems in existing surveys, in the US, and in other countries. Finally, the last five chapters discuss the pros and cons of possible alternative approaches for collecting expenditure data.
Some of Crossley's work on this project was supported by the ESRC-funded Centre for Microeconomic Analysis of Public Policy at the Institute for Fiscal Studies (CPP, reference RES-544-28-5001).
Christopher D. Carroll
I am a member of the Board of Directors of the NBER