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You are here: Home / MPRC People / Erich Battistin, Ph.D. / Erich Battistin Publications / The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements

Erich Battistin, Michele De Nadai, and Nandini Krishnan (2020)

The Insights and Illusions of Consumption Measurements

IZA Institute of Labor Economics(13222).

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.

Housing, Social and Economic Inequality, Survey Data, Survey, Economics, Battistin
measurement of inequality and poverty, household surveys, modes of data collection
First available online: May 2020

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