Measuring Quarterly Economic Growth from Outer Space

This paper presents a novel framework to estimate the elasticity between nighttime lights and quarterly economic activity. The relationship is identified by accounting for varying degrees of measurement errors in nighttime light data across countries. The estimated elasticity is 1.55 for emerging ma...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Beyer, Robert
Other Authors: Hu, Yingyao, Yao, Jiaxiong
Format: eBook
Language:English
Published: Washington, D.C. International Monetary Fund 2022
Series:IMF Working Papers
Subjects:
Online Access:
Collection: International Monetary Fund - Collection details see MPG.ReNa
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245 0 0 |a Measuring Quarterly Economic Growth from Outer Space  |c Robert Beyer, Yingyao Hu, Jiaxiong Yao 
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300 |a 45 pages 
653 |a Econometric and Statistical Methods 
653 |a Product Accounts and Wealth 
653 |a Nighttime lights 
653 |a Measurement and Data on National Income 
653 |a Environmental Accounts 
653 |a Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity 
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700 1 |a Yao, Jiaxiong 
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520 |a This paper presents a novel framework to estimate the elasticity between nighttime lights and quarterly economic activity. The relationship is identified by accounting for varying degrees of measurement errors in nighttime light data across countries. The estimated elasticity is 1.55 for emerging markets and developing economies, ranging from 1.36 to 1.81 across country groups and robust to different model specifications. The paper uses a light-adjusted measure of quarterly economic activity to show that higher levels of development, statistical capacity, and voice and accountability are associated with more precise national accounts data. The elasticity allows quantification of subnational economic impacts. During the COVID-19 pandemic, regions with higher levels of development and population density experienced larger declines in economic activity