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MEASURING CONSUMER EXPENDITURES WITH PAYMENT DIARIES

Scott Schuh

Economic Inquiry, 2018, vol. 56, issue 1, 13-49

Abstract: Payment diaries measure consumer expenditures by tracking authorization of payments by instrument (cash, check, debit or credit card, etc.). Three notable results emerge from comparing the 2012 Diary of Consumer Payment Choice (DCPC) to other estimates of consumer expenditures: (1) DCPC payments are 75% higher than Consumer Expenditure Survey estimates; (2) DCPC consumption estimates are 17% higher than comparable personal consumption expenditure estimates; and (3) DCPC payments roughly equal comparably adjusted National Income and Product Accounts personal disposable income. The DCPC's relative success stems from measuring expenditures aggregated into lumpy payments (“shopping baskets”), relatively low respondent burden, and effective random sampling. (JEL E21, D12, D14)

Date: 2018
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