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Author (up) Nordhaus, W.; Chen, X.
Title A sharper image? Estimates of the precision of nighttime lights as a proxy for economic statistics Type Journal Article
Year 2014 Publication Journal of Economic Geography Abbreviated Journal J of Econ Geog
Volume 15 Issue 1 Pages 217-246
Keywords Nighttime lights; luminosity; output measurement; national accounts; proxy measures; social science; economics; remote sensing
Abstract Much aggregate social-science analysis relies upon the standard national income and product accounts as a source of economic data. These are recognized to be defective in many poor countries, and are missing at the regional level for large parts of the world. Using updated luminosity (or nighttime lights) data, the present study examines whether such data contain useful information for estimating national and regional incomes and output. The bootstrap method is used for estimating the statistical precision of the estimates of the contribution of the lights proxy. We conclude that there may be substantial cross-sectional information in lights data for countries with low-quality statistical systems. However, lights data provide very little additional information for countries with high-quality data wherever standard data are available. The largest statistical concerns arise from uncertainties about the precision of standard national accounts data.
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Publisher Oxford University Press Place of Publication Editor
Language English Summary Language Original Title
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Call Number IDA @ john @ Serial 363
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Author (up) Nordhaus, W.; Chen, X.
Title Improved Estimates of Using Luminosity as a Proxy for Economic Statistics: New Results and Estimates of Precision. Type Journal Article
Year 2012 Publication Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper Abbreviated Journal
Volume Issue 1857 Pages
Keywords Economics; Luminosity; Output measurement; National accounts; Proxy measures
Abstract Previous work has analyzed whether luminosity data contain useful information for estimating economic output and concluded that there was significant promise for regions with poor quality economic statistics. The present paper examines alternative measures of the precision of the estimates using bootstrap and prior estimates of the errors for both the luminosity quality and the national accounts quality. Based on the new results, we conclude: First, for countries with high quality systems, there is no reason to use luminosity data as a supplement to standard data in any context where standard data are available. Second, we find that there is no advantage at present of using lights data for time-series corrections for any purposes where standard data are available. Third, for countries with low quality statistical systems, the estimates suggest that there may be substantial information in the luminosity data for cross-sectional estimates of output. Fourth, the major concerns about the use of lights as a proxy involve uncertainties about the precision of standard national accounts data. Finally, we recommend that future work be concentrated on integrating luminosity data into the cross sectional estimates of national and regional output primarily for countries with poor quality statistical systems.
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Corporate Author Thesis
Publisher Place of Publication Editor
Language Summary Language Original Title
Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title
Series Volume Series Issue Edition
ISSN ISBN Medium
Area Expedition Conference
Notes Approved no
Call Number LoNNe @ christopher.kyba @ Serial 435
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