Coherent Identifier About this item: 20.500.12592/06bt84

Mind the Gap : Disparities in Assessments of Living Standards Using National Accounts and Household Surveys (English)

22 September 2021


Estimates of average per capita consumption and income from national accounts differ substantially from corresponding measures of consumption and income from household surveys. Using a new compilation of more than 2,000 household surveys matched to national accounts data, this study finds that the gaps between the data sources are larger and more robust than previously established. Means of household consumption estimated from surveys are, on average, 20 percent lower than corresponding means from national accounts. The gap with gross domestic product per capita is nearly 50 percent. The gaps have increased in recent decades and are largest in middle-income countries, where annualized growth rates for consumption surveys are systematically lower than national accounts growth rates. The paper shows that the gaps in measures across these two sources have implications for assessments of economic growth, poverty, and inequality. The study finds that typical survey measures of consumption and income may exaggerate poverty reduction and underestimate inequality.




poverty household survey inflation economic growth household surveys industry poverty reduction poverty and inequality world system of national accounts survey data macroeconomics and economic growth the world region law and development labor & employment law economic theory & research industrial economics national account household final consumption expenditure household income and expenditure survey average per capita consumption

Disclosure Date
Disclosure Status
Doc Name
Mind the Gap : Disparities in Assessments of Living Standards Using National Accounts and Household Surveys
Originating Unit
Development Data Group (DECDG)
Series Name
Policy Research working paper; no. WPS 9779; Paper is funded by the Knowledge for Change Program (KCP);
Total Volume(s)
Unit Owning
Off of Sr VP Dev Econ/Chief Econ (DECVP)
Version Type
Volume No


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