Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Christopher D. Carroll, Thomas F. Crossley, and John Sabelhaus

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780226126654

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226194714.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 26 June 2022

The Evolution of Income, Consumption, and Leisure Inequality in the United States, 1980–2010

The Evolution of Income, Consumption, and Leisure Inequality in the United States, 1980–2010

(p.100) 4 The Evolution of Income, Consumption, and Leisure Inequality in the United States, 1980–2010
Improving the Measurement of Consumer Expenditures

Orazio Attanasio

Erik Hurst

Luigi Pistaferri

University of Chicago Press

Recent research has documented that income inequality in the United States has increased dramatically over the prior three decades. Some argue this increase was matched by an equally large increase in consumption inequality. Studies of this question have used data from the Consumer Expenditure (CE) Survey, and some have suggested that the increase in consumption inequality has been modest. There is mounting evidence that the CE is plagued by serious non-classical measurement error, which hinders definitive conclusions about changes in consumption inequality. We use different techniques to overcome these measurement error problems. First, we use data from the diary component of the CE, focusing on categories where measurement error has been less problematic. Second, we explore inequality measures within the CE using the value of vehicles owned, a component that is measured well. Third, we try to account directly for the non-classical measurement error by comparing the spending on luxuries (entertainment) relative to necessities (food). Finally, we use expenditure data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics to explore the dynamics of alternative measures of consumption inequality. We find that consumption inequality within the U.S. between 1980 and 2010 has increased by nearly the same amount as income inequality.

Keywords:   consumer expenditure survey, income inequality, consumption inequality, leisure inequality, measurement error

Chicago Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.