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The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements

Erich Battistin (), Michele De Nadai () and Nandini Krishnan
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Erich Battistin: University of Maryland
Michele De Nadai: University of Padova
Nandini Krishnan: World Bank

No 13222, IZA Discussion Papers from Institute of Labor Economics (IZA)

Abstract: While household well-being derives from long-term average rates of consumption, welfare comparisons typically rely on shorter-duration survey measurements. We develop a new strategy to identify the distribution of these long-term rates by leveraging a large-scale randomization in Iraq 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 reports to be error-free, and hinges on a research design with broad replicability. Our strategy delivers practical and costeffective suggestions for designing survey modules to yield the closest measurements of consumption well-being. In addition, we find little empirical support for the claim that acquisition diaries yield the most accurate measurement of poverty and inequality and offer new insights to interpret and reconcile diary-recall differences in household surveys.

Keywords: modes of data collection; measurement of inequality and poverty; household surveys (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C81 D31 D63 E21 I32 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 43 pages
Date: 2020-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-mac
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