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Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach

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  • Stelios Michalopoulos
  • Elias Papaioannou

Abstract

Over the last two decades, the literature on comparative development has moved from country-level to within-country analyses. The questions asked have expanded, as economists have used satellite images of light density at night and other big spatial data to proxy for development at the desired level. The focus has also shifted from uncovering correlations to identifying causal relations, using elaborate econometric techniques including spatial regression discontinuity designs. In this survey we show how the combination of geographic information systems with insights from disciplines ranging from the earth sciences to linguistics and history has transformed the research landscape on the roots of the spatial patterns of development. We discuss the limitations of the luminosity data and associated econometric techniques and conclude by offering some thoughts on future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Stelios Michalopoulos & Elias Papaioannou, 2017. "Spatial Patterns of Development: A Meso Approach," Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Working Papers 4, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, revised 11 Dec 2017.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedmoi:0004
    DOI: 10.21034/iwp.4
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    Cited by:

    1. Bluhm, Richard & Krause, Melanie, 2018. "Top Lights: Bright cities and their contribution to economic development," MERIT Working Papers 2018-041, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    2. Christophe Muller & Pierre Pecher, 2018. "Transborder Ethnic Kin and Local Prosperity: Evidence form Night-Time Light Intensity in Africa," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2018006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    3. Bluhm, Richard & Krause, Melanie, 2018. "Top Lights: Bright cities and their contribution to economic development," MERIT Working Papers 2018-041, United Nations University - Maastricht Economic and Social Research Institute on Innovation and Technology (MERIT).
    4. Colella, Fabrizio & Lalive, Rafael & Sakalli, Seyhun Orcan & Thoenig, Mathias, 2019. "Inference with Arbitrary Clustering," IZA Discussion Papers 12584, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Philip Roessler & Yannick I. Pengl & Robert Marty & Kyle Sorlie Titlow & Nicolas van de Walle, 2020. "The Cash Crop Revolution, Colonialism and Legacies of Spatial Inequality: Evidence from Africa," CSAE Working Paper Series 2020-12, Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Regions; Ethnicity; Regression discontinuity; History; Luminosity; Borders; Language; Development;

    JEL classification:

    • N9 - Economic History - - Regional and Urban History
    • O55 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Africa
    • O43 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Institutions and Growth
    • N00 - Economic History - - General - - - General
    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General

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