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Cognitive Issues Associated with Collecting Cash Contributions in the Consumer Expenditure Survey

John J. Bosley and Sylvia K. Fisher


Currently, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) collects cash contributions data in two sections of the Consumer Expenditure Survey, which is a survey interview administered in the household on a quarterly basis. The BLS wanted to identify a more effective means of collecting cash contributions, because the reports of cash contributions during the three-month reference period collected from respondents appeared both statistically and intuitively to provide estimates for Cash Contributions that were lower than should have been anticipated.

A team was appointed to identify proposed rewording of the Cash Contributions questions. This team, the Redesign Task Force, developed an alternative version of the Cash Contributions that was designed to improve reporting accuracy and minimize respondent burden. This poster describes the results of cognitive testing procedures conducted to evaluate the effectiveness of cognitive testing of the proposed revision of the Cash Contributions questions, and provides information about many of the cognitive issues associated with collecting financial information of this type.In addition, the final version of the Cash Contributions that was identified through cognitive testing procedures is provided, as well.