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The analysis in this chapter is based on household survey data collected in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland between 1987 and 1992 and on the analyses of these data performed by Vecernik et al. (1995), Sik et al. (1995), and Gorecki et al. (1995). This section reviews these data sources and describes the Luxembourg Income Study database, which has standardized many of these data sets and made them comparable both among themselves and with those of other Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries.

Central European Household Surveys

The Central European countries have a long tradition of using large, detailed household surveys to collect a broad range of demographic, income, and consumption data similar to those collected in Western European and U.S. surveys. The availability of survey data from 1987 and 1988 provides a baseline from which to measure subsequent change. Each survey is a nationally representative sample with a large sample size and detailed questions pertaining to household characteristics (Garner et al., 1991). The following surveys are used in this chapter:

  • The Czechoslovak Microcensus (1988) and the Czech Republic Microcensus (1992)

  • The Hungarian Household Panel Survey (1992, 1993, 1994) and the Hungarian Household Income Survey (1983, 1987)

  • The Polish Household Budget Survey (1987, 1990, 1992)

Selected characteristics of each survey are presented in Annex Table 13-1.

Luxembourg Income Study

The Luxembourg Income Study has standardized the income variables and demographic definitions used in the most recent of the Central European surveys so that comparisons among countries can be made. Disposable income is the income concept used for comparison. This concept includes government benefits net of taxes. The Central European surveys collected data on a number of different sources of income, such as earned income and public and private transfers.

Households are characterized not only by the age and gender of the household head, but also by size. Household income is adjusted for the size of the household, using an equivalence scale similar to that used by the OECD in its most recent publications (e.g., Förster, 1993). Using this scale instead of employing straight per capita income adjustments significantly affects evalu-

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