Measuring Consumer Spending Using Card Transaction Data: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic
AbstractPandemic-driven economic changes are measurable in days and weeks rather than months and years, underscoring a need for more timely economic data to inform the public. We summarize newly available estimates of spending using card transaction data that are available on the Bureau of Economic Analysis website and analyze correlations between card data and official series. We find that card data perform well in measuring large changes in the economy around the pandemic, although the correlations are much lower during a period of stability prior to the pandemic. This pattern is likely attributable to a shift in the signal-to-noise ratio over these periods.
CitationDunn, Abe, Kyle Hood, Andrea Batch, and Alex Driessen. 2021. "Measuring Consumer Spending Using Card Transaction Data: Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 111: 321-25. DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20211049
- E20 Consumption, Saving, Production, Investment, Labor Markets, and Informal Economy: General (includes Measurement and Data)
- C82 Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Macroeconomic Data; Data Access
- I12 Health Behavior
- D10 Household Behavior: General
- C81 Methodology for Collecting, Estimating, and Organizing Microeconomic Data; Data Access