Are Values Reported Using Quantities and Prices in Consumption Expenditure Data?

Article Type

Research Article

Publication Title

Journal of Statistical Theory and Practice


For about 125 items of food, the Consumer Expenditure Survey (CES) schedule of the Indian National Sample Survey asks the interviewer to obtain both quantity and value of household consumption during the reference period from the respondent. This would appear to put a great burden on the respondent and call for reduction in the number of items in the schedule. But it is likely that interviewers actually proceed by asking the respondent to recall quantity and price usually paid (instead of quantity and value) and multiplying the two to get value, item-wise, as price usually paid might be easy to recall, and survey protocol does not disallow it. Whether this is done and, if so, how frequently, is of obvious importance to the planners of this important living standards survey, as efforts to reduce the number of items to lighten the respondent burden continue. In this study, a method, using unit records for vegetable items in the NSS’s 2011–2012 CES, is devised to estimate the proportion of interviews in which values of vegetable consumption were in fact determined by the multiplication method. The findings suggest that this method was much more prevalent than “independent” recall of values. This paper concludes that the survey would benefit if the price-and-quantity method were explicitly laid down as the method to be followed to obtain value, as it releases valuable interview time for more important items. Research using unit values from NSS CES data as a proxy for prices would also interpret and use such unit values better, were the practice to be followed uniformly.



Publication Date