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Three Facts About Night Lights Data

John Gibson () and Geua Boe-Gibson ()

Working Papers in Economics from University of Waikato

Abstract: The DMSP night lights data used in economics are old and not very accurate. Newer VIIRS night lights data have 60 percent higher predictive power for state-level GDP in the United States. Predictive accuracy is far higher in the cross section than for time series changes, either annually or quarterly. Night lights predict more weakly for agriculture than for manufacturing and other industries. These three facts suggest a need for caution in using night lights data, which may be unsuitable for many economics research purposes in many places.

Keywords: DMSP; GDP; night lights; VIIRS; United States (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: E23 R12 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 9 pages
Date: 2020-03-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-gro, nep-mac and nep-ure
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