Would You Like a Receipt With That? Availability of Respondent Records When Collecting Expenditure Information

Amy Hendershott, Jennifer Edgar, Emily Geisen, and Chris Stringei


Measurement error due to over- or underreporting in surveys designed to capture expenditure information may be attributable to respondent recall difficulty. The use of respondent records may reduce measurement error, but only if such records are available for the items asked about and the information on the record aligns well with the level of detail being asked about in the questions. The US Census Bureau and Bureau of Labor Statistics contracted with RTI International to conduct a feasibility study to investigate the extent to which records were available for consumer purchases, factors affecting record availability, and logistical considerations for obtaining expenditure records.