Income Data for Policy Analysis: A Comparative Assessment of Eight Surveys. SYNTHESIS OF FINDINGS


The purpose of this study was to conduct a comprehensive and systematic assessment of the income data and its utility for policy-related analyses in eight major surveys. To this end we have assembled a detailed descriptive portrait of the eight surveys and conducted an extensive empirical analysis. The empirical analysis included comparisons of the surveys using, to the extent possible, comparable reference periods,67 universes, income concepts, and family definitions. The empirical portion also included analyses of the impact of various design choices. The assessment focused on three issues:

  • The quality and usability of each survey’s income and poverty data for policy-related analyses.
  • The overall impact of different design and methodological approaches.
  • Specific design and processing choices that may be related to the quality and utility of income and poverty data in each survey.

In this synthesis, we pull together findings from both the descriptive and empirical components of the study. We conclude with a brief discussion of next steps.

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