Noncash Benefits:

An Evaluation of the Census Bureau's Measurement Conference

PEMD-86-8BR: Published: Apr 17, 1986. Publicly Released: Apr 17, 1986.

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In response to congressional requests, GAO reported on its assessment of a Census Bureau conference on the measurement of noncash benefits.

GAO found that four topics were discussed, including: (1) concerns about the Bureau's methods for valuing noncash benefits; (2) suggested solutions to some of those concerns; (3) general measurement principles; and (4) suggestions for future research. The conference focused principally on conceptual issues and devoted less attention to operational and computational considerations surrounding the measurement of income. Over half of the 104 attendees representing an array of government and other public and private sector organizations were economists. GAO found that 45 of the participants made major contributions and half of them were experts in general noncash benefits or in the statistical definition of income. GAO believes that the conference discussion may underrepresent the views of some concerned groups. The breadth of opinions expressed in conference discussions represents a lower boundary on the diversity of views that may actually exist.

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