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Reporting of household income: complete versus incomplete response.

Thesia I. Gamer and Laura A. Blanciforti, "Reporting of Household Income: Complete Versus Incomplete Response," published in Bureau of the Census Third Annual Research Conference, March 29-April 1, 1987 Proceedings (Washington, Bureau of the Census, 1987). Another version of this paper was presented during the American Council on Consumer Interests 33rd Annual Conference, held April 1 -4, 1987, in Denver, Co.

The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between particular socioeconomic characteristics and the probability that a consumer unit reports income information. This is in contrast to earlier income/earnings reporting studies in which individual characteristics are related to response probabilities. Income reporting is defined in terms of the completeness of income information obtained from consumer units. The distinction between a complete income reporter and an incomplete income reporter is based on whether the respondent provides values for various sources of income. Socioeconomic variables included in the model are the age, race, sex, education, and occupation of the reference person, and the housing tenure, degree of urbanization, and region of residence of the household. Binomial logit analysis is used to model the probability of income response completeness. Data from the Interview portion of the 1983 Consumer Expenditure Survey are analyzed.

If the reference person is self-employed or has a 4-year college degree, the consumer unit is likely to be an incomplete income respondent. Increases in the reference person's age, for the most part are related to decreases in the probability of complete income response. Owning one's home is negatively related to being a complete income reporter. Consumer units living in the Northeast and those living in the North Central regions of the country also are less likely than others to be complete income reporters. These results are consistent with related findings of previous researchers. For this analysis, no attempt is made to test whether the socioeconomic variables influence income completeness through their effect or whether the variables independently influence income completeness.

Results from the study have important implications for research. Analysts interested in using income from the Consumer Expenditure Survey need to be aware that complete and incomplete reporters of income are different; these differences may lead to biased estimation results if not accounted for in one's analytical procedure. Focusing on factors related to income report completeness is also important when the Bureau considers revising data collection procedures to improve data quality.
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Title Annotation:Consumer Expenditure Survey Conference paper summaries
Author:Garner, Thesia I.; Blanciforti, Laura A.
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Aug 1, 1988
Words:395
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