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Microdata selection for estimating household consumption-based emissions

23 February, 2022

Microdata selection for estimating household consumption-based emissions

Anne Owen

Diana Ivanova

Research paper   Materials & Products

Lena Kilian, Anne Owen, Andy Newing and Diana Ivanova


To estimate household emissions from a consumption-perspective, national accounts are typically disaggregated to a sub-national level using household expenditure data. While limitations around using expenditure data are frequently discussed, differences in emission estimates generated from seemingly comparable expenditure microdata are not well-known. We compare UK neighbourhood greenhouse gas emission estimates derived from three such micro- datasets: the Output Area Classification, the Living Costs and Food Survey, and a dataset produced by the credit reference agency TransUnion. Findings indicate moderate similarity between emission estimates from all datasets, even at detailed product and spatial levels; importantly, similarity increases for higher-emission products. Nevertheless, levels of similarity vary by products and geographies, highlighting the impact microdata selection can have on emission estimates. We focus our discussion on how uncertainty from micro- data selection can be reduced in other UK and international contexts by selecting data based on the data generation process, the level of disaggregation needed, physical unit availability and research implications

Publication details

Kilian, L., Owen, A., Newing, A. and Ivanova, D. 2022. Microdata selection for estimating household consumption-based emissions. Economic Systems Research, 2: 1–29. doi: 10.1080/09535314.2022.2034139 Opens in a new tab 

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