Illuminating Economic Growth

Author/Editor:

Yingyao Hu ; Jiaxiong Yao

Publication Date:

April 9, 2019

Electronic Access:

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Summary:

This paper seeks to illuminate the uncertainty in official GDP per capita measures using auxiliary data. Using satellite-recorded nighttime lights as an additional measurement of true GDP per capita, we provide a statistical framework, in which the error in official GDP per capita may depend on the country’s statistical capacity and the relationship between nighttime lights and true GDP per capita can be nonlinear and vary with geographic location. This paper uses recently developed results for measurement error models to identify and estimate the nonlinear relationship between nighttime lights and true GDP per capita and the nonparametric distribution of errors in official GDP per capita data. We then construct more precise and robust measures of GDP per capita using nighttime lights, official national accounts data, statistical capacity, and geographic locations. We find that GDP per capita measures are less precise for middle and low income countries and nighttime lights can play a bigger role in improving such measures.

Series:

Working Paper No. 19/77

Subject:

English

Publication Date:

April 9, 2019

ISBN/ISSN:

9781498302944/1018-5941

Stock No:

WPIEA2019077

Price:

$18.00 (Academic Rate:$18.00)

Format:

Paper

Pages:

57

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