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Studying Consumption Patterns using Registry Data: Lessons From Swedish Administrative Data

Jonas Kolsrud, Camille Landais () and Johannes Spinnewijn

No 12402, CEPR Discussion Papers from C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers

Abstract: This paper measures consumption expenditures using registry data on income and asset holdings in Sweden and illustrates how a registry-based measure can alleviate some critical limitations of traditional survey measures in capturing changes in consumption inequality and consumption responses to shocks. In the construction of our measure, we build on previous work exploiting the identity coming from the household budget constraint between consumption expenditures and income net of savings. We try to improve this measure using more registry information to account for the contribution of both financial and real assets to consumption flows. We demonstrate the power of the registry-based measure to study the relationship between income and consumption inequality, especially at the top of the income distribution. We also exploit the longitudinal dimension to study consumption responses to important life-time events and the different means used to smooth consumption.

Date: 2017-10
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