Wednesday, January 11, 2012

How much stuff do we have

In a previous post on the stagnation of median incomes I had suggested that another alternative measure would be “how much more stuff” the median household or median person have had over time. The data source that might contain this data is the Consumer Expenditure Survey. Unfortunately, this data is not publicly available for free download but is available for sale. My knee jerk reaction is: Isn’t there something wrong about selling data that has been collected using public funds? The only other data is from the NBER but this only goes up to 2003.

Assuming we had the data, the measure might be whether the proportion of after tax income that is spent on food, housing, expenditure and health has decreased over time by the median person or household.

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