E2 Macroeconomics: Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment
The benefits of panel data in consumer expenditure surveys
Christopher D. Carroll
Jonathan A. Parker
Nicholas S. Souleles
- This paper explains why the collection of panel (reinterview) data on a comprehensive measure of household expenditures is of great value both for measuring budget shares (the core mission of a Consumer Expenditure survey) and for the most important research and public policy uses to which CE data can be applied, including construction of spending-based measures of poverty and inequality and estimating the effects of fiscal policy.
Cognitive abilities and portfolio choice
- We study the relation between cognitive abilities and stockholding using the recent Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), which has detailed data on wealth and portfolio composition of individuals aged 50+ in 11 European countries and three indicators of cognitive abilities: mathematical, verbal fluency, and recall skills. We find that the propensity to invest in stocks is strongly associated with cognitive abilities, for both direct stock market participation and indirect participation through mutual funds and retirement accounts. Since the decision to invest in less information-intensive assets (such as bonds) is less strongly related to cognitive abilities, we conclude that the association between cognitive abilities and stockholding is driven by information constraints, rather than by features of preferences or psychological traits.