IFS Working Paper (W03/07)

Errors in survey reports of consumption expenditures

Date: 03 April 2003
ISSN: 1742-0415
Volume, issue, pages: 58 pp
JEL classification: C13, C42, D12, D91
DOI: 10.1920/wp.ifs.2003.0307
This paper considers data quality issues for the analysis of consumption inequality exploiting two complementary datasets from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for the United States. The Interview sample follows survey households over four calendar quarters and consists of retrospectively asked information about monthly expenditures on durable and non-durable goods. The Diary sample interviews household for two consecutive weeks and includes detailed information about frequently purchased items (food, personal cares and household supplies). Each survey has its own questionnaire and sample. Information from one sample is exploited as an instrument for the other sample to derive a correction for the measurement error affecting observed measures of consumption inequality. Implications of our ?ndings are used as a test for the permanent income hypothesis.