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Citation Information

Type Working Paper
Title Methods of household consumption measurement through survey: Experimental results from Tanzania
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTFR/Resources/475459-1259791405401/MethodsHouseholdComsumptionM​easurement_122009.pdf
Consumption expenditure has long been the preferred measure of household living standards. However accurate measurement is a challenge for field studies and household expenditure surveys vary widely across many dimensions including: the method of data capture, the level of respondent, the length of the reference period for which consumption is reported, and the degree of commodity detail in recall surveys. These variations occur both across countries and also over time as statistical offices alter survey design, but with little understanding of the implications of such changes for spatially and temporally consistent measurement of household consumption and poverty. A field experiment in Tanzania tests alternative methods to measure household consumption. Eight alternative consumption questionnaires were randomly distributed across 4,000 households. There are significant differences between consumption reported by our benchmark personal diary and both household diaries and recall modules. Our findings highlight that under-reporting is particularly relevant in illiterate households and among wealthier households. Recall modules also report lower consumption than a personal diary, but the gap is larger among poorer households. The time saved by shortening the list of food items is small yet, there are high costs in terms of data quality.

Related studies

Beegle, Kathleen, Joachim De Weerdt, Jed Friedman, and John Gibson. "Methods of household consumption measurement through survey: Experimental results from Tanzania." (2009).