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Consumer Expenditure Surveys

2019 Consumer Expenditure Surveys (CE) Microdata Users’ Workshop Agenda

July 17-19, 2019

Individual meetings with CE staff members can be scheduled throughout the workshop. To do so, please sign up at the registration desk or speak to a CE staff member directly.

Research and training presentations are available here.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration/Refreshments

  • 9:00-9:15 a.m. Welcome – Steve Henderson

  • 9:15-9:30 a.m. Overview of the CE Survey – Adam Safir
  • 9:30-9:45 a.m. Introduction to Microdata – Jimmy Choi
  • 9:45-10:00 a.m. Microdata File Structure – Taylor Wilson
  • 10:00-10:15 a.m. Q&A

  • 10:15-10:30 a.m. Morning Break

  • 10:30-12:00 p.m. Practical Training Session 1a – CE Microdata Staff

  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)

  • 1:00-1:20 p.m. Balancing Respondent Confidentiality and Data User Needs – Aaron Cobet
  • 1:20-2:30 p.m. Practical Training Session 1b – CE Microdata Staff

  • 2:30-2:45 p.m. Afternoon Break

  • 2:45-3:00 p.m. Using R with CE Microdata – Arcenis Rojas
  • 3:00-3:25 p.m. In What Contexts do Households Maintain their Advantage? Mechanisms for Widening Household Expenditures on Higher Education across the Income Distribution – Kennan Cepa,* Ph.D. candidate (Sociology), University of Pennsylvania
  • 3:25-3:50 p.m. Using CE Microdata in Undergraduate Statistics Courses – Monika Hu ,* Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, Vassar College
  • 3:50-4:15 p.m. Examining Changes in Households Spending Patterns in Response to Changes in Transportation Usage and Transportation Unit Costs – Jonathan Peters,** Ph.D., Professor of Finance, College of Staten Island/Research Fellow, University Transportation Research Center
  • 4:15-4:30 p.m. Discussion / Q&A

  • 4:30 p.m.-End Announcements / Networking Opportunity

Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration/Refreshments

  • 9:00-9:15 a.m. The CE Source Selection Process – Brett Creech
  • 9:15-9:30 a.m. Sampling Methods and Derivation of Sampling Weights – Brian Nix
  • 9:30-10:00 a.m. State Weights: Providing More Geographic Data – Taylor Wilson

  • 10:00-10:15 a.m. Morning Break

  • 10:15-10:45 a.m. Variance Estimation - The BRR Method – Geoffrey Paulin, Ph.D.
  • 10:45-11:30 a.m. Practical Training Session 2a – CE Microdata Staff
  • 11:30-12:00 p.m. Opportunities and Challenges of using the CE Microdata to Study Food Deserts in North Carolina – Lyubov Kurkalova,* Ph.D., Professor of Economics; North Carolina A&T

  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)

  • 1:00-1:25 p.m. Special Presentation – “Submitting a Monthly Labor Review Article” – Charlotte Irby, Technical Writer-Editor, Monthly Labor Review
  • 1:25-3:00 p.m. Practical Training Session 2b – CE Microdata Staff

  • 3:00-3:15 p.m. Afternoon Break

  • 3:15-3:45 p.m. Comparing Selected Expenditures of Dual and Single Income Households with Children – Julie Sullivan, with comment by Geoffrey Paulin, Ph.D.
  • 3:45-3:55 p.m. Q&A

  • 3:55-4:00 p.m. Announcements

Friday, July 19, 2019

  • 8:30-9:00 a.m. Registration/Refreshments

  • 9:00-9:15 a.m. Data Adjustment - Sales Taxes – Barbara Johnson-Cox
  • 9:15-9:30 a.m. Imputation & Allocation of CE Microdata – Clayton Knappenberger
  • 9:30-9:45 a.m. Q&A

  • 9:45-10:10 a.m. Morning Break

  • 10:00-10:45 a.m. Panel Discussion - Access to Restricted Data Files for Select Statistical Research Projects
    • Moderator: Geoffrey Paulin, Ph.D.
    • ASA/NSF/BLS Fellowship Program: Monika Hu ,* Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, Vassar College
    • BLS Visiting Researcher Program: Jimmy Choi
  • 10:45-11:05 a.m. Sneak Peek – Steve Henderson
  • 11:05-11:30 a.m. Investigating the Imputation of Assets and Liabilities in the CE Interview Survey – Geoffrey Paulin, Ph.D.
  • 11:30-12:00 p.m. Attendee Feedback Session– Erica Yu, Office of Survey Methods Research

  • 12:00-1:00 p.m. Lunch (on your own)

  • 1:00-2:45 p.m. Practical Training Session 3 – CE Microdata Staff

  • 2:45-3:00 p.m. Afternoon Break

  • 3:00 p.m. Practical Training (Special Topics) – CE Microdata Staff
* First-time CE microdata user.
** Speaker has presented at previous workshop(s).

Practical Training Sessions (Tentative Schedule):

The practical training projects (zip) at this workshop will be covered sequentially. Depending on the progress of each session, topics may start in one session and be carried over to later sessions. Tentatively, the topics to be covered each day are as follows:

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

  • Project 1: Generating annualized sample means by family type using the Interview FMLI files.
  • - Introduction to summary income variables
    - Develop a baseline understanding of the sample data
    - Using data only from participants in all four interviews compared to treating quarters independently
  • Project 2: Generating annualized sample means by number of children in the CU using the Interview FMLI and MEMI files.
  • - Explore how we can use data from multiple sources to determine interesting cross tabs
  • Project 3: Generating annualized sample means for tuition, test, book, and other education expenditures by number of children in the CU using the Interview FMLI, MEMI, and MTBI files.
  • - Introduction to stub files
    - Introduction to expenditure summary variables (PQ/CQ)
  • Project 4: Generating annualized sample means for a specific Diary survey item to be integrated with Interview survey data, creating a total education expenditure.
  • - Review of source selection

Thursday, July 18, 2019

  • Project 5: Generating statistics for non-expenditure characteristics (school type) of education using the Interview survey EDA and FMLI files.
  • - Using the EDA file to find more specific information about whether the expense was for someone inside or outside the CU
  • Project 6: Generating a weighted average annual collection year education expenditure and standard error by the number of children in a CU, using the Interview survey files.
  • - Using the weights
    - Comparisons of population versus sample means

Friday, July 19, 2019

  • Project 7: User's Guide to Income Imputation in the CE (Part 1) Calculating valid descriptive statistics for multiply imputed income:
  • - Mean
    - Standard error
  • Project 8: User's Guide to Income Imputation in the CE (Part 2) Regression analysis to find the relationship between food-at-home expenditures and income:
  • - Compute the parameter estimates and their standard errors for the intercept and income in a simple linear regression.
  • Project 9: Generating a weighted calendar year education expenditures by the number of children in a CU using the Interview survey files.
  • - MO_SCOPE: How to adjust the weights to represent the “months in scope” of the interview

    CE Microdata Users’ Workshop Staff

    The following CE staff members will lead or facilitate exercises during at least one practical training session. Several will be available at each session to assist you with your projects.

    • Jimmy Choi
    • Aaron Cobet
    • Brett Creech
    • Scott Curtin
    • Evan Hubener
    • Geoffrey Paulin
    • Taylor Wilson


    Contact: 202-691-6900 or

    Workshop Location:

    Postal Square Building
    Janet Norwood Conference Center Rooms 1, 2, and 3
    2 Massachusetts Avenue NE
    Washington DC, 20212

    For a printable PDF version, click here.

    Last Modified Date: August 14, 2019