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Nighttime Lights as a Proxy for Human Development at the Local Level

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Listed:
  • Anna Bruederle
  • Roland Hodler

Abstract

Nighttime lights are increasingly used by social scientists as a proxy for economic activity and economic development in subnational spatial units. However, so far, our understanding of what nighttime lights capture is limited. We construct local indicators of household wealth, education and health from geo-coded Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for 29 African countries. We show that nighttime lights are positively associated with these indicators across DHS cluster locations as well as across grid cells of roughly 50 x 50 km. We conclude that nighttime lights are a good proxy for human development at the local level.

Suggested Citation

  • Anna Bruederle & Roland Hodler, 2017. "Nighttime Lights as a Proxy for Human Development at the Local Level," CESifo Working Paper Series 6555, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6555
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    nighttime lights; local development; Africa;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • I15 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health and Economic Development
    • I25 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Economic Development
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
    • O15 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa

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