Measuring Total Household Spending in a Monthly Internet Survey: Evidence from the American Life Panel
Beginning in May 2009 we fielded a monthly Internet survey designed to measure total household spending as the aggregate of about 40 spending components. This paper reports on a number of outcomes from 30 waves of data collection. These outcomes include sample attrition, indicators of data quality such as item nonresponse and the variance in total spending, and substantive results such as the trajectory of total spending and the trajectories of some components of spending. We conclude that high-frequency surveying for total spending is feasible and that the resulting data show expected patterns of levels and change.
We are grateful to the National Institute on Aging for research support and funding for data collection under grants P01 AG008291, P01 AG022481, P30 AG012815, and R01 AG020717. We are grateful to the Social Security Administration for funding of data collection and research support. Many thanks to the ALP team for their assistance with the data collection, to Joanna Carroll and Angela Miu for programming support, and to Alessandro Malchiodi for excellent research assistance. The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Measuring Total Household Spending in a Monthly Internet Survey: Evidence from the American Life Panel, Michael D. Hurd, Susann Rohwedder. in Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures, Carroll, Crossley, and Sabelhaus. 2015