Research Cases

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

By October, 2017 No Comments

Krislert Samphantharak PH.D., Associate Professor, Department of Economics, University of California San Diego
Scott Schuh, PH.D., Director, Consumer Payments Research Center; Senior Economist and Policy Advisor, Research Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston
Robert Townshend, PH.D., Elizabeth & James Killian Professor, Department of Economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Date Published
October, 2017

This paper presents a vision for improving household financial surveys by integrating responses from questionnaires more completely with financial statements and combining them with payments data from diaries. Integrated household financial accounts—balance sheet, income statement, and statement of cash flows—are used to assess the degree of integration in leading U.S. household surveys, focusing on inconsistencies in measures of the change in cash. Diaries of consumer payment choice can improve dynamic integration. Using payments data, we construct a statement of flows: a detailed analysis of currency, checking accounts, prepaid cards, credit cards, and other payment instruments, consistent with conventional cash flow measures and the other financial accounts.

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