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Author (up) Henderson, J.V.; Storeygard, A.; Weil, D.N. url  doi
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  Title Measuring Economic Growth From Outer Space Type Journal Article
  Year 2012 Publication The American Economic Review Abbreviated Journal Am Econ Rev  
  Volume 102 Issue 2 Pages 994-1028  
  Keywords satellite data; remote sensing; economics; social science  
  Abstract GDP growth is often measured poorly for countries and rarely measured at all for cities or subnational regions. We propose a readily available proxy: satellite data on lights at night. We develop a statistical framework that uses lights growth to augment existing income growth measures, under the assumption that measurement error in using observed light as an indicator of income is uncorrelated with measurement error in national income accounts. For countries with good national income accounts data, information on growth of lights is of marginal value in estimating the true growth rate of income, while for countries with the worst national income accounts, the optimal estimate of true income growth is a composite with roughly equal weights. Among poor-data countries, our new estimate of average annual growth differs by as much as 3 percentage points from official data. Lights data also allow for measurement of income growth in sub- and supranational regions. As an application, we examine growth in Sub Saharan African regions over the last 17 years. We find that real incomes in non-coastal areas have grown faster by 1/3 of an annual percentage point than coastal areas; non-malarial areas have grown faster than malarial ones by 1/3 to 2/3 annual percent points; and primate city regions have grown no faster than hinterland areas. Such applications point toward a research program in which “empirical growth” need no longer be synonymous with “national income accounts.”  
  Address National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138  
  Corporate Author Thesis  
  Publisher American Economic Association Place of Publication Editor  
  Language English Summary Language Original Title  
  Series Editor Series Title Abbreviated Series Title  
  Series Volume Series Issue Edition  
  ISSN 0002-8282 ISBN Medium  
  Area Expedition Conference  
  Notes PMID:25067841; PMCID:PMC4108272 Approved no  
  Call Number IDA @ john @ Serial 364  
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