Measuring Districts' Monthly Economic Activity from Outer Space

31 Pages Posted: 28 Aug 2018

See all articles by Robert Beyer

Robert Beyer

World Bank - South Asia Chief Economist Office

Esha Chhabra

World Bank

Virgilio Galdo

Michigan State University - Economics

Martin Rama

World Bank

Date Written: July 12, 2018

Abstract

Evening-hour luminosity observed using satellites is a good proxy for economic activity. The strengths of measuring economic activity using nightlight measurements include that the data capture informal activity, are available in near real-time, are cheap to obtain, and can be used to conduct very spatially granular analysis. This paper presents a measure of monthly economic activity at the district level based on cleaned Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite nightlight and rural population. The paper demonstrates that this new method can shed light on recent episodes in South Asia: first, the 2015 earthquake in Nepal; second, demonetization in India; and, third, violent conflict outbreaks in Afghanistan.

Keywords: International Trade and Trade Rules, General Manufacturing, Food & Beverage Industry, Common Carriers Industry, Construction Industry, Business Cycles and Stabilization Policies, Plastics & Rubber Industry, Pulp & Paper Industry, Textiles, Apparel & Leather Industry, Food Security, Economic Growth, Industrial Economics, Economic Theory & Research, Armed Conflict, International Terrorism & Counterterrorism

Suggested Citation

Beyer, Robert and Chhabra, Esha and Galdo, Virgilio and Rama, Martin, Measuring Districts' Monthly Economic Activity from Outer Space (July 12, 2018). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 8523. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3238366

Robert Beyer (Contact Author)

World Bank - South Asia Chief Economist Office ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Esha Chhabra

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Virgilio Galdo

Michigan State University - Economics ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States
517-203-8372 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://search.msu.edu/people/index.php?uid=488171&prev=Galdo,%20Virgilio

Martin Rama

World Bank ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
United States

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