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Bright Lights, Big Cities : Measuring National and Subnational Economic Growth in Africa from Outer Space, with an Application to Kenya and Rwanda

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World Bank (WB)

Abstract: This paper uses the night lights (satellite imagery from outer space) approach to estimate growth in and levels of subnational 2013 gross domestic product for 47 counties in Kenya and 30 districts in Rwanda. Estimating subnational gross domestic product is consequential for three reasons. First, there is strong policy interest in how growth can occur in different parts of countries, so that communities can share in national prosperity and not get left behind. Second, subnational entities want to understand how they stack up against their neighbors and competitors, and how much they contribute to national gross domestic product. Third, such information could help private investors to assess where to undertake investments. Using night lights has the advantage of seeing a new and more accurate estimation of informal activity, and being independent of official data. However, the approach may underestimate economic activity in sectors that are largely unlit notably agriculture. For Kenya, the results of the analysis affirm that Nairobi County is the largest contributor to national gross domestic product. However, at 13 percent, this contribution is lower than commonly thought. For Rwanda, the three districts of Kigali account for 40 percent of national gross domestic product, underscoring the lower scale of economic activity in the rest of the country. To get a composite picture of subnational economic activity, especially in the context of rapidly improving official statistics in Kenya and Rwanda, it is important to estimate subnational gross domestic product using standard approaches (production, expenditure, income).
Type: Working Paper
Publications & Research :: Policy Research Working Paper
Publications & Research
Link: http://hdl.handle.net/10986/22883
Subject: EXPENDITURE
GROWTH RATES
SUB-NATIONAL
CONSUMPTION
REVENUE SHARING
POVERTY LINE
DISECONOMIES OF SCALE
EQUAL SHARES
ECONOMIC GROWTH
NATIONAL ACCOUNTS
ESTIMATION METHOD
CITY
POVERTY LEVELS
COEFFICIENTS
FINANCIAL CRISIS
INCOME
VALUE
DEPENDENT VARIABLE
REVENUE ALLOCATION
NATIONAL POVERTY LINE
ANNUAL GROWTH RATE
ECONOMIC DECLINE
MACROECONOMICS
REAL GDP
DISTRICT ADMINISTRATIONS
GDP PER CAPITA
RESOURCE ALLOCATION
ELASTICITY
URBAN AREAS
DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME
AGRICULTURAL SECTOR
AGRICULTURE
INCENTIVES
DISTRICT- LEVEL
SUBNATIONAL UNITS
SUBNATIONAL UNIT
PROVINCES
ANNUAL GROWTH
TAX
INPUTS
CITIES
WEALTH
SURVEYS
ECONOMICS
AGRICULTURAL OUTPUT
FIXED EFFECTS
SUBNATIONAL
ECONOMIC ACTIVITY
SUB- NATIONAL
PRO-POOR
GDP
LONG-TERM GROWTH
GROWTH RATE
INFORMAL ECONOMY
FISCAL MANAGEMENT
POVERTY
SUBNATIONAL GOVERNMENTS
REVENUE-RAISING CAPACITY
ECONOMIC DOWNTURNS
DISTRICT
INCIDENCE OF POVERTY
REVENUE
AGRICULTURAL PERFORMANCE
CRITERIA
POLICY RESEARCH
UNDERESTIMATES
POOR
TAX BASE
DISTRICT-LEVEL
HOUSEHOLD SURVEYS
INDICATORS
EMPIRICAL MODEL
DISTRICT LEVEL
GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT
REVENUE SHARING FORMULA
DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS
DISTRICTS
EXPENDITURE NEEDS
ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
SUBNATIONAL ENTITIES
DEVELOPMENT POLICY
GROWTH




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