Comparing Micro and Macro Sources for Household Accounts in the United States: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances

FEDS Working Paper No. 2015-086

http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.086

69 Pages Posted: 6 Oct 2015

See all articles by Lisa J. Dettling

Lisa J. Dettling

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Sebastian Devlin-Foltz

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Jacob Krimmel

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System; University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School

Sarah Pack

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System

Jeffrey P. Thompson

New England Public Policy Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston; Federal Reserve Board of Governors

Date Written: June 5, 2015

Abstract

Household income, spending, and net worth are key inputs in macroeconomic forecasting and economic research. Macro-level data sources are often used to measure household accounts, but lack important information about heterogeneity across different types of households that can be found in micro-level data sources. This paper compares aggregates computed based on one micro-level data source — the Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) — with macro-level sources of information on household accounts. We find that on most measures, aggregates computed from the SCF line up well with macro-level data sources once we construct comparable series. Our results imply that researchers and policy makers can be confident in making macroeconomic inferences from household-level surveys like the SCF.

Keywords: Income, Spending, Survey of Consumer Finances, Wealth

JEL Classification: D14, D31, E21

Suggested Citation

Dettling, Lisa J. and Devlin-Foltz, Sebastian and Krimmel, Jacob and Pack, Sarah and Thompson, Jeffrey P., Comparing Micro and Macro Sources for Household Accounts in the United States: Evidence from the Survey of Consumer Finances (June 5, 2015). http://dx.doi.org/10.17016/FEDS.2015.086. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2669590 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2669590

Lisa J. Dettling (Contact Author)

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Sebastian Devlin-Foltz

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Jacob Krimmel

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

University of Pennsylvania - The Wharton School ( email )

3641 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6365
United States

Sarah Pack

Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System ( email )

20th Street and Constitution Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20551
United States

Jeffrey P. Thompson

New England Public Policy Institute, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston ( email )

600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
United States

Federal Reserve Board of Governors ( email )

Washington, DC 20551
United States

HOME PAGE: http://https://www.federalreserve.gov/econres/jeffrey-p-thompson.htm

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