10/9/2009 8:58:52 AM
Although there is little doubt that households have undergone incredible changes to their spending, investment, and other activities as a result of the current recession, data on this topic are not readily available. A new HNW/Forbes Wealth Pulse survey
gives insights into a hard-to-reach population but one of great interest - high-net worth individuals. It finds respondents who expect a recovery soon and see opportunity in the current economy to grow investments. Interestingly, it finds many millionaires are cutting back on charitable giving (28 percent) but even more (51 percent) plan to give as much or more to charity.
The Survey of Consumer Finance
(SCF), the Federal Reserve's seminal research product in this area, is only available through 2007 (and for every three-year period before that for several cycles). But, there is hope that in mid-2010 the Fed will have some information available on consumer finance in 2009. What the Fed has done, to the best of my current understanding, is to refield the SCF in 2009 on the same sample that it used in 2007. As such, they will be creating a short longitudinal panel of households which should allow for in-depth analysis of the effects of the current recession. This was a brilliant methodological move in my estimation but one that really should be a part of the ongoing design of the program. The next wave of the SCF will collect data on a new sample in 2010, and I believe in that wave forward, they plan to implement an intentional longitudinal design. This should prove very useful to researchers and policymakers in this area as we can actually examine the factors which appear to drive change at the microlevel. Incidentally, the SCF has an oversample of wealthy households (who are disproportionately households which own businesses) so some of what HNW/Forbes attempted to capture here will be possible to analyze in a more robust sample through the SCF.