Micro- and Macrodata: a Comparison of the Household Finance and Consumption Survey with Financial Accounts in Austria

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Abstract

This article compares the results of Austria’s Household Finance and Consumption Survey (HFCS) on savings deposits and estimates on total financial assets with administrative records from the national accounts for the household sector. The microdata that are newly generated through the HFCS and the detailed (internally available) breakdown of savings deposits in the existing macrodata (financial accounts) lend themselves to a more in-depth analysis of the similarities and differences in these two sources. Comparing the data shows that the HFCSbased aggregate estimates are lower than the financial accounts data, which is in line with evidence from the literature. The article also shows, however, that the survey adequately captures the underlying patterns at the microlevel in terms of the overall financial portfolio allocation and the distribution of savings deposits over detailed breakdowns. Moreover, a simulation based on the HFCS data demonstrates the effect that the inclusion of savings deposits in the most affluent tail of the distribution has on common statistics. Undercoverage above all of the upper deposit ranges suggests an underestimation or bias in the statistics. This underestimation, however, can be shown to be relatively minor, particularly in the case of robust statistical measures, such as the median or percentile ratios.

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