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The Consumer Expenditure Survey (CEX) offers the most comprehensive consumption data at the consumer level for the United States. Several previous studies have shown a large gap between per-capita consumption from the CEX and the aggregate Personal Consumption Expenditure (PCE) series. While previous research has focused on consumption levels, we focus on the cyclical properties of consumption. We find that the cyclical properties of consumption expenditure data from the two sources are quantitatively very different. This result calls for caution when using CEX data for business cycle research.
consumption; business cycles; consumer expenditure survey; personal consumption expenditure