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Measuring economic growth from outer space

Author: J Vernon Henderson; Adam Storeygard; David N Weill; National Bureau of Economic Research.
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, ©2009.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 15199.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
GDP growth is often measured poorly for countries and rarely measured at all for cities. We propose a readily available proxy: satellite data on lights at night. Our statistical framework uses light growth to supplement existing income growth measures. The framework is applied to countries with the lowest quality income data, resulting in estimates of growth that differ substantially from established estimates. We  Read more...
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Details

Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: J Vernon Henderson; Adam Storeygard; David N Weill; National Bureau of Economic Research.
OCLC Number: 429235365
Notes: "July 2009."
Description: 1 online resource (36, [7]) : illustrations, digital.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 15199.
Responsibility: J. Vernon Henderson, Adam Storeygard, David N. Weil.

Abstract:

GDP growth is often measured poorly for countries and rarely measured at all for cities. We propose a readily available proxy: satellite data on lights at night. Our statistical framework uses light growth to supplement existing income growth measures. The framework is applied to countries with the lowest quality income data, resulting in estimates of growth that differ substantially from established estimates. We then consider a longstanding debate: do increases in local agricultural productivity increase city incomes? For African cities, we find that exogenous agricultural productivity shocks (high rainfall years) have substantial effects on local urban economic activity.

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