Detecting Urban Markets with Satellite Imagery: An Application to India

53 Pages Posted: 16 Jul 2018

See all articles by Kathryn Baragwanath Vogel

Kathryn Baragwanath Vogel

University of California, San Diego (UCSD)

Ran Goldblatt

New Light Technologies

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Amit Khandelwal

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER); Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD)

Date Written: July 2018

Abstract

We propose a methodology for defining urban markets based on built-up land-cover classified from daytime satellite imagery. Compared to markets defined using minimum thresholds for nighttime light intensity, daytime imagery identify an order of magnitude more markets, capture more of India's urban population, are more realistically jagged in shape, and reveal more variation in the spatial distribution of economic activity. We conclude that daytime satellite data are a promising source for the study of urban forms.

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Suggested Citation

Baragwanath Vogel, Kathryn and Goldblatt, Ran and Hanson, Gordon H. and Khandelwal, Amit Kumar, Detecting Urban Markets with Satellite Imagery: An Application to India (July 2018). NBER Working Paper No. w24796. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3214339

Kathryn Baragwanath Vogel (Contact Author)

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
Mail Code 0502
La Jolla, CA 92093-0112
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Ran Goldblatt

New Light Technologies ( email )

1100 H St NW
#700
Washington,, DC 20001
United States

Gordon H. Hanson

University of California, San Diego (UCSD) - Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IRPS) ( email )

9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, CA 92093-0519
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Amit Kumar Khandelwal

Columbia Business School - Finance and Economics ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www0.gsb.columbia.edu/faculty/akhandelwal/

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) ( email )

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.nber.org/people/amit_khandelwal

Bureau for Research and Economic Analysis of Development (BREAD) ( email )

Duke University
Durham, NC 90097
United States

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