Erich Battistin (University of Padova and IRVAPP), Survey Instruments and the Reports of Consumption Expenditures:Evidence from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys, Econometrics Seminar, Toulouse: TSE, March 9, 2010, 15:30–17:00, room MF 323.


This paper provides evidence on the relevance of the mode collection for the analysis of consumption data for the United States using complementary data sets from the Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CEX). We first show that population figures from consumption reports obtained with diaries markedly differ from those obtained using recall data. We then exploit multiple measurements of food expenditure available in the CEX to identify the effects of the mode collection on important features of the distribution of consumption. Finally, we show how to purge the expenditure measurements from most of the effects of mode collection and thus obtain a better measure of consumption. The paper concludes by suggesting some guidelines for empirical research that have important implications for the measurement of inequality and well being.


Consumption; Data Collection Methods; Rank Invariance;

JEL codes

  • C13: Estimation: General
  • C21: Cross-Sectional Models • Spatial Models • Treatment Effect Models • Quantile Regressions
  • D12: Consumer Economics: Empirical Analysis