Economic Research Service: Dr. Hanson’s work needs primarily an annual number. The quarterly aspect is not that important.
Bureau of Economic Analysis: Less frequent collection would end up with more boundary problems, mainly because respondents would have trouble recalling expenditures over a longer period. BEA uses quarterly data when they can get it, annual when they cannot.
Question 3: Do you need a complete financial profile for each household, e.g., income, assets, etc., in addition to expenditures?
Federal Reserve: Yes, in fact, Dr. Li and his colleagues are working with BLS to enhance the collection of assets and liabilities. This may mean a reduction in the number of questions on this, but also more accuracy and precision. Dr. Li believes that some of the questions currently being asked should be revised to match the state of household finance. He also needs income to get the complete picture.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: They do not need great financial details, but staff did express that assets are equally important to income because older people tend to have less income and more assets.
Economic Research Service: Asset data are not used, but better income data would be nice. For example, low-income households often spend more than their income, so something is missed (e.g., alimony, informal income).
Bureau of Economic Analysis: In the final survey for a household, it would be nice to have the complete picture. But the big need for BEA is for interest rates paid on big loans. Assets and liabilities would be nice.
Question 4: How detailed do you need expenses? Would global expenditures work, or if not, what level of detail do you need?
Federal Reserve: The need is more for high-level aggregate data rather than a lot of detail.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services: Staff listed nine major services areas for which they need data. This is quite detailed, but not as detailed as this section gets, e.g., they don’t need data on Blue Cross