Integrated Household Surveys: An Assessment of U.S. Methods and an Innovation

By Samphantharak, Krislert; Schuh, Scott et al. | Economic Inquiry, January 2018 | Go to article overview

Integrated Household Surveys: An Assessment of U.S. Methods and an Innovation


Samphantharak, Krislert, Schuh, Scott, Townsend, Robert M., Economic Inquiry


I. INTRODUCTION

During recent decades, interest in the study of household finance has grown rapidly. Campbell (2006) first advanced the case for treating household finance as a distinct field of study in economics. The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 strengthened that case due to the subprime housing debacle in many industrial economies and its persistent impact on household balance sheets. In particular, the extent and nature of increased leverage and risk in household mortgages and their effects on the real (housing industry) and financial (shadow banking) sectors of the economy were not well known or understood prior to the crisis. Consequently, there is now a focus on household decision making, how households got into this trouble, what transpired in the crisis, and the difficulties encountered thereafter. (1)

A hindrance to research and understanding of household economic behavior (real and financial) has been the lack of sufficient data. Relative to other countries, the United States has a large amount of high-quality data on household economic behavior; these data will be examined closely in this paper. Even the U.S. data, however, were inadequate to inform economic agents and policymakers sufficiently to avoid the financial crisis. Many efforts are underway to acquire and develop additional needed data; these efforts include the Eurosystem's Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS), which was inspired partly by the U.S. Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF). (2) Other efforts, such as the National Academy of Science's call for a substantially revised Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), aim to reform existing datasets (Dillman and House 2013).

The U.S. household survey data exhibit several characteristics that limit their effectiveness. The U.S. statistical system (public and private) is decentralized, with each data source specializing in a part of household activity. Although there are often good reasons for specialization, the result is a general lack of comprehensive measurement of household activity. Many datasets are cross-sectional, which limits their ability to track the behavior of specific households over time, and are gathered infrequently. When data sources are combined in an effort to provide a more comprehensive view of household behavior, the combination of the specialized data sources can create imperfect, if not misleading, views of household economic conditions, due to differences in sampling, measurement, and linkages between microeconomic and aggregate data. (3) These imperfections make it difficult to ascertain from the data the extent and nature of important developments, such as adjustments affecting household balance sheets in the wake of financial crisis, increases in income inequality, and intergenerational dynamics of household net worth.

Data on household behavior in other countries also exhibit limitations, but there are signs of improvement in response to major economic developments. Most notably, the financial crisis reaffirmed the view that household finance is at the center of development economics because financial access is thought to be one of the key factors that could help poor and vulnerable households become more productive and resilient in the face of economic shocks. In addition, there have been payment innovations such as M-Pesa in Kenya, an electronic money issued by a cell phone company, Safaricom, that in many respects is now on par with currency there as a medium of exchange (Jack, Suri, and Townsend 2010). The often-expressed hope in developing economies is that a deeper, more developed financial system can be built on top of such an improved payments system, with some progress evident in countries such as Pakistan. (4) These developments bring us back to the need for better data on payments, household behavior, and a microfounded view of the macroeconomy in developing countries. Fortunately, more countries are producing data from household surveys that are doing a better job of measuring these developments. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Integrated Household Surveys: An Assessment of U.S. Methods and an Innovation
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.