What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the Us?

46 Pages Posted: 15 Mar 2004

See all articles by Orazio Attanasio

Orazio Attanasio

University College London - Department of Economics; Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS); Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Erich Battistin

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

Hidehiko Ichimura

Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo

Date Written: March 2004

Abstract

This paper considers data quality issues for the analysis of consumption inequality exploiting two complementary datasets from the Consumer Expenditure Survey for the United States. The Interview sample follows survey households over four calendar quarters and consists of retrospectively collected information about monthly expenditures on durable and non-durable goods. The Diary sample interviews household for two consecutive weeks and includes detailed information about frequently purchased items (food, personal cares and household supplies). Most reliable information from each sample is exploited to derive a correction for the measurement error affecting observed measures of consumption inequality in the two surveys. We find that consumption inequality, as measured by the standard deviation of log non-durable consumption, has increased by roughly 5% points during the 1990s.

Suggested Citation

Attanasio, Orazio and Battistin, Erich and Ichimura, Hidehiko, What Really Happened to Consumption Inequality in the Us? (March 2004). NBER Working Paper No. w10338. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=515232

Orazio Attanasio (Contact Author)

University College London - Department of Economics ( email )

Gower Street
London WC1E 6BT, WC1E 6BT
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+44 20 7679 5880 (Phone)
+44 20 7916 2775 (Fax)

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS)

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Erich Battistin

Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) ( email )

7 Ridgmount Street
London, WC1E 7AE
United Kingdom

Hidehiko Ichimura

Graduate School of Economics, University of Tokyo ( email )

7-3-1 Hongo Bunkyo-ku
Tokyo 113-0033
Japan

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