Methods of Household Consumption Measurement Through Surveys: Experimental Results from Tanzania

49 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Kathleen Beegle

Kathleen Beegle

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Joachim De Weerdt

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management; KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS); Economic Development Initiatives (EDI)

Jed Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG); World Bank Group

John Gibson

University of Waikato; Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

Date Written: December 1, 2010

Abstract

Consumption expenditure has long been the preferred measure of household living standards. However, accurate measurement is a challenge and household expenditure surveys vary widely across many dimensions, including the level of reporting, the length of the reference period, and the degree of commodity detail. These variations occur both across countries and also over time within countries. There is little current understanding of the implications of such changes for spatially and temporally consistent measurement of household consumption and poverty. A field experiment in Tanzania tests eight alternative methods to measure household consumption on a sample of 4,000 households. There are significant differences between consumption reported by the benchmark personal diary and other diary and recall formats. Under-reporting is particularly relevant in illiterate households and for urban respondents completing household diaries; recall modules measure lower consumption than a personal diary, with larger gaps among poorer households and households with more adult members. Variations in reporting accuracy by household characteristics are also discussed and differences in measured poverty as a result of survey design are explored. The study concludes with recommendations for methods of survey based consumption measurement in low-income countries.

Keywords: Consumption, Regional Economic Development, Rural Poverty Reduction, Poverty Lines

Suggested Citation

Beegle, Kathleen and De Weerdt, Joachim and Friedman, Jed Arnold and Gibson, John, Methods of Household Consumption Measurement Through Surveys: Experimental Results from Tanzania (December 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5501. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1726250

Kathleen Beegle (Contact Author)

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

HOME PAGE: http://econ.worldbank.org/staff/kbeegle

Joachim De Weerdt

University of Antwerp - Institute of Development Policy and Management ( email )

City campus building S
Lange Sint Annastraat 7
Antwerp, 2000
Belgium

KU Leuven - Centre for Institutions and Economic Performance (LICOS) ( email )

Waaistraat 6 - box 3511
Leuven, 3000
Belgium

Economic Development Initiatives (EDI) ( email )

P.O. Box 393
Bukoba
Tanzania

HOME PAGE: http://www.edi-africa.com

Jed Arnold Friedman

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

World Bank Group ( email )

1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

John Gibson

University of Waikato ( email )

Te Raupapa
Private Bag 3105
Hamilton, 3240
New Zealand

Motu Economic and Public Policy Research

19 Milne Terrace
Island Bay
Wellington, 6002
New Zealand

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