The effect of question wording on reported expectations and perceptions of inflation
Public expectations and perceptions of inflation may affect economic decisions, and have subsequent effects on actual inflation. The Michigan Survey of Consumers uses questions about "prices in general" to measure expected and perceived inflation. Median responses track official measure of inflation, showing some tendency toward overestimation and considerable disagreement between respondents. Possibly, responses reflect how much respondents thought of salient personal experiences with specific prices when being asked about "prices in general." Here, we randomly assigned respondents to ...
What Do Survey Data Tell Us about US Businesses?
This paper examines the reliability of survey data on business incomes, valuations, and rates of return, which are key inputs for studies of wealth inequality and entrepreneurial choice. We compare survey responses of business owners with available data from administrative tax records, brokered private business sales, and publicly traded company filings and document problems due to nonrepresentative samples and measurement errors across all surveys, subsamples, and years. We find that the discrepancies are economically relevant for the statistics of interest. We investigate reasons for these ...
Battery order effects on relative ratings in Likert scales
Likert-scale batteries, sequences of questions with the same ordinal response choices, are often used in surveys to collect information about attitudes on a related set of topics. Analysis of such data often focuses on the study of relative ratings or the likelihood that one item is given a lower (or higher) rating than another item. This work studies how different orderings of the items within a battery and, in particular, the relative location of items affect relative rating distributions. We take advantage of data from the 2012?2014 Survey of Consumer Payment Surveys, in which item order ...
Data Appendix: What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?
In this appendix, we provide details on the data sources and construction of variables for our analysis in "What Do Survey Data Tell Us about U.S. Businesses?" We also include the auxiliary tables and figures omitted from the main text.
Lining Up : Survey and Administrative Data Estimates of Wealth Concentration
The Survey of Consumer Finances (SCF) has a dual-frame sample design that supplements a standard area-probability frame with a sample of observations drawn from statistical records derived from tax returns. The tax-based frame is stratified on the basis of a "wealth index" constructed largely from observed income flows, with the intent of heavily oversampling wealthy households. Although the SCF is not specifically designed to estimate wealth concentration, the design arguably provides sufficient support to enable such analysis with a reasonable level of credibility. Similar estimates may ...
Reaching the Hard to Reach with Intermediaries: The Kansas City Fed’s LMI Survey
Reaching hard-to-reach individuals is a common problem in survey research. The low- and moderate-income (LMI) population, for example, is generally hard to reach. The Kansas City Fed?s Low- and Moderate-Income Survey addresses this problem by sampling a database of organizations to serve as proxies for the LMI population. In this paper, I describe why the LMI population can be hard to reach. I then explore potential problems with using a nonrandom survey sample and address the empirical validity of the Kansas City Fed?s LMI Survey. I compare results from the survey using the standard sample ...
We Are All Behavioral, More or Less: Measuring and Using Consumer-Level Behavioral Sufficient Statistics
Can a behavioral sufficient statistic empirically capture cross-consumer variation in behavioral tendencies and help identify whether behavioral biases, taken together, are linked to material consumer welfare losses? Our answer is yes. We construct simple consumer-level behavioral sufficient statistics??B-counts??by eliciting seventeen potential sources of behavioral biases per person, in a nationally representative panel, in two separate rounds nearly three years apart. B-counts aggregate information on behavioral biases within-person. Nearly all consumers exhibit multiple biases, in ...
Estimating population means in the 2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice
This report examines the effect of adding to a longitudinal panel on estimates of population parameters in the 2012 Survey of Consumer Payment Choice (SCPC) more than 1,000 newly recruited respondents specifically targeted to fill segments of the U.S. population that tend to be underbanked and underrepresented in the longitudinal panel. In many ways, the new respondents have fundamentally different characteristics from the ongoing respondents. To minimize confounding sources of change to annual estimates when making comparisons across years, the official 2012 SCPC publication was based on the ...
Optimal recall period length in consumer payment surveys
Surveys in many academic fields ask respondents to recall the number of events that occurred over a specific period of time with the goal of learning about the mean frequency of these events among the population. Research has shown that the choice of the recall period, particularly the length, affects the results by influencing the cognitive recall process. We combine experimental recall data with use data to learn about this relationship in the context of consumer payments, specifically for the mean frequency of use of the four most popular payment instruments (cash, credit card, debit card, ...
News and Uncertainty about COVID-19: Survey Evidence and Short-Run Economic Impact
We survey households about their expectations of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, in real time and at daily frequency. Our baseline question asks about the expected impact on output and inflation over a one-year horizon. Starting on March 10, the median response suggests that the expected output loss is still moderate. This changes over the course of three weeks: At the end of March, the expected loss amounts to some 15 percent. Meanwhile, the pandemic is expected to raise inflation considerably. The uncertainty about these effects is very large. In the second part of the paper ...