The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements
40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2020
Date Written: May 21, 2020
Although household well-being is anchored in long-term average rates of consumption, welfare comparisons typically rely on shorter-duration survey measurements. This paper develops a new strategy to identify the distribution of these long-term rates by leveraging a large-scale randomization that elicited repeated short-duration measurements from diaries and recall questions. Identification stems from diary-recall differences in reports from the same household, does not require these reports to be error-free, and hinges on a research design with broad replicability. This strategy delivers cost-effective suggestions for designing survey modules to yield the most accurate measurements of consumption well-being, and offers new insights for interpreting and reconciling diary-recall differences in household expenditure surveys.
Keywords: Inequality, Demographics, Educational Sciences, Crime and Society, Labor & Employment Law
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