The Value of Luminosity Data as a Proxy for Economic Statistics
Yale University - Department of Economics
William D. Nordhaus
Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
NBER Working Paper No. w16317
One of the pervasive issues in social and environmental research has been to improve the quality of socioeconomic data in developing countries. Because of the shortcoming of standard data sources, the present study examines luminosity (measures of nighttime lights) as a proxy for standard measures of output. The paper compares output and luminosity at the country levels and at the 1° x 1° grid-cell levels for the period 1992-2008. The results are that luminosity has very little value added for countries with high-quality statistical systems. However, it may be useful for countries with the lowest statistical grades, particularly for war-torn countries with no recent population or economic censuses. The results also indicate that luminosity has more value added for economic density estimates than for time-series growth rates.
Institutional subscribers to the NBER working paper series, and residents of developing countries may download this paper without additional charge at www.nber.org.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 44working papers series
Date posted: August 30, 2010
© 2013 Social Science Electronic Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
This page was processed by apollo6 in 0.453 seconds