Measuring Total Household Spending in a Monthly Internet Survey

Evidence from the American Life Panel

by Michael D. Hurd, Susann Rohwedder

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Abstract

Beginning in May 2009 the authors fielded a monthly Internet survey designed to measure total household spending as the aggregate of about 40 spending components. This paper reports on a number of outcomes from 30 waves of data collection. These outcomes include sample attrition, indicators of data quality such as item nonresponse and the variance in total spending, and substantive results such as the trajectory of total spending and the trajectories of some components of spending. They conclude that high-frequency surveying for total spending is feasible and that the resulting data show expected patterns of levels and change.

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