From tiny samples do mighty populations grow? Using the British Household Panel Survey to analyse the household sector balance sheet

Working papers set out research in progress by our staff, with the aim of encouraging comments and debate.
Published on 12 November 2004

Working Paper No. 239
By Victoria Redwood and Merxe Tudela

This paper evaluates the reliability of specific variables in the British Household Panel Survey (BHPS) by comparing grossed-up variables from the BHPS with their corresponding national aggregates. The paper focuses on those variables that provide the most information on risks to financial stability stemming from households, particularly household balance sheet variables relating to debt and assets, and income. The results indicate that housing wealth and income derived from the BHPS are broadly consistent with the aggregate measures. But unsecured debt and financial wealth are substantially under-recorded in the BHPS relative to the aggregate benchmark.

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