The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements

40 Pages Posted: 23 May 2020

See all articles by Erich Battistin

Erich Battistin

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Michele De Nadai

University of Padova

Nandini Krishnan

World Bank

Multiple version iconThere are 3 versions of this paper

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

Suggested Citation

Battistin, Erich and De Nadai, Michele and Krishnan, Nandini, The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements (May 21, 2020). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 9255, Available at SSRN:

Erich Battistin (Contact Author)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Michele De Nadai

University of Padova ( email )

Nandini Krishnan

World Bank

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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