Measuring Consumer Expenditures with Payment Diaries

62 Pages Posted: 21 Jun 2017

See all articles by Scott D. Schuh

Scott D. Schuh

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2017-01-20


As the 2012 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC) illustrates, there are advantages to measuring consumer expenditures by tracking the authorization of payments by instrument type (cash, check, debit or credit card, etc.). The main advantages of payment diaries appear to be the following: 1) the ability to measure expenditures by payment instrument aggregated into lumpy purchases (“shopping baskets”), 2) relatively low respondent burden, and 3) effective random sampling. Three notable results emerge from comparing the 2012 DCPC estimates with estimates from other reputable estimates of the current value of consumer expenditures: 1) DCPC payments estimates are 75 percent higher than Consumer Expenditure Survey estimates; 2) DCPC consumption estimates are 17 percent higher than personal consumption expenditures estimates in comparable expenditure categories (about half of the categories are comparable); and 3) DCPC payments roughly equal comparably adjusted national income and product accounts disposable income.

Keywords: payments, consumer expenditures, consumption, income, diary survey

JEL Classification: D12, D14, E21

Suggested Citation

Schuh, Scott, Measuring Consumer Expenditures with Payment Diaries (2017-01-20). FRB of Boston Working Paper No. 17-2. Available at SSRN:

Scott Schuh (Contact Author)

Federal Reserve Bank of Boston - Research Department ( email )

600 Atlantic Ave.
Boston, MA 02210
United States
617-973-3941 (Phone)
617-619-7541 (Fax)

Register to save articles to
your library


Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics