Conceptual and Implementation Challenges in Measuring Household Economic Status

Sonalde B. Desai, University of Maryland
Dinesh Tiwari, National Council of Applied Economic Research

Measurement of economic status of a household is one of the crucial bricks in building social science research. Yet, it is also one of the most elusive concepts; partly because of the conceptual and theoretical difficulties in defining which aspect of economic status is most relevant and partly because of the measurement difficulties. Using data from India Human Development Survey, a nationally representative survey of over 41,000 households and in-depth qualitative data collection in four North Indian villages, this paper examines reliability and validity of survey data for household income, consumption and consumer assets. Results from this analysis should provide a better guide for future questionnaire construction as well as robustness check for results of demographic and health studies.

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Presented in Session 216: Insights and Lessons for Improving Collection and Use of Existing Demographic Data Generation Systems