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Using Neural Networks to Predict Micro-Spatial Economic Growth

Arman Khachiyan, Anthony Thomas, Huye Zhou, Gordon Hanson, Alex Cloninger, Tajana Rosing and Amit Khandelwal

No 29569, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: We apply deep learning to daytime satellite imagery to predict changes in income and population at high spatial resolution in US data. For grid cells with lateral dimensions of 1.2km and 2.4km (where the average US county has dimension of 55.6km), our model predictions achieve R2 values of 0.85 to 0.91 in levels, which far exceed the accuracy of existing models, and 0.32 to 0.46 in decadal changes, which have no counterpart in the literature and are 3-4 times larger than for commonly used nighttime lights. Our network has wide application for analyzing localized shocks.

JEL-codes: R0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-big, nep-cmp, nep-cwa, nep-geo and nep-ure
Note: ITI
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Published as Arman Khachiyan & Anthony Thomas & Huye Zhou & Gordon Hanson & Alex Cloninger & Tajana Rosing & Amit K. Khandelwal, 2022. "Using Neural Networks to Predict Microspatial Economic Growth," American Economic Review: Insights, American Economic Association, vol. 4(4), pages 491-506, December.

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