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Mar 30 -- The Federal Reserve Board of Governors invites comment by May 30, 2023 regarding the renewal of the Ongoing Intermittent Survey of Households, a voluntary survey used to study consumer financial decisions, attitudes, and payment behavior.

The Board has a contract with the University of Michigan's Survey Research Center (SRC) to include survey questions on behalf of the Board in an addendum to the SRC's regular monthly Survey of Consumer Attitudes and Expectations. The FR 3016 is the portion of that survey that includes Board questions. The full SRC survey averages approximately 25 to 30 minutes per month per respondent, and the Board proposes to add one to two new Board-developed questions to its portion of the survey. The additional questions are expected to change based on Board requirements and the economic conditions at the time of survey fielding, but can include questions about an individual's opinion on such matters as financing needs, or other aspects of consumer financial behavior. The survey results will help the Board to broaden its monitoring of changes in current financing conditions on household spending and other financial outcomes.
The Ongoing Intermittent Survey of Households was initiated in 1981. Over the past 41 years, the survey data have helped the Board understand consumer credit markets and consumer behavior. The Board has used the data to meet the current analysis needs of the Board to respond to mandates from the Congress, to prepare academic research papers, and to provide information to the public. The survey has provided the Board useful studies of the influence of consumer spending and saving decisions in determining the course of the national economy, which may not be readily available if the survey were not conducted. For example, Board staff routinely use the durable goods and car purchase attitude questions in the survey to gauge the potential effects of economic factors, such as gas prices or current financing conditions, on household spending. This information is not available from other sources.  
For each monthly SRC survey conducted, the SRC staff samples approximately 600 households from the universe of all private households in the coterminous United States. The sample is designed to be representative of the national population of households. The SRC staff conducts the interviews by telephone, to respondents’ cellular phone numbers, and participation is voluntary. The Board drafts and edits the addendum questions in consultation with the SRC personnel. The SRC conducts a field pretest of the questions. The survey includes questions about inflation and house prices expectations monthly and includes questions of special interest to the Board intermittently, when needed, as additions to the SRC’s regular survey format. These questions relate to various aspects of consumer financial behavior and the impact of regulations affecting consumer financial services. It is difficult to determine in advance the specific number of times the Board will ask the SRC to obtain survey data since the need for data often arises from unpredictable legislative and economic developments, or from unforeseen Congressional requests for information. In the past, the Board has added special-interest questions in about four to six surveys each year in addition to the standard Board questions regarding inflation and house price expectations. Although the Board plans some surveys well in advance, the survey’s principal value is the flexibility it provides the Board to respond quickly to changing economic, legislative, and regulatory developments.  
Under the terms of the Board’s contract, the SRC routinely places individual respondent data, stripped of names and other characteristics that would permit personal identification of respondents, in the public domain one year after the data file with survey responses is received by the Board. The SRC publishes survey data on the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) website, https://www.icpsr.umich.edu/web/pages/; the Board is a member institution of the ICPSR.

Draft technical documentation: https://www.federalreserve.gov/reportforms/formsreview/FR_3016_OMB_SS_2023.pdf
FRN: https://www.federalregister.gov/d/2023-06550

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