Tag: GDP

City Lights Reveals Economic Activity—But Don't Give Up Ledgers Just Yet

By Veronique Greenwood | May 17, 2011 12:41 pm

earthNot so helpful after all.

What’s the News: City lights are more than a pretty sight from the air—they’re also a good way to tell how a country’s economy is doing, some economists say. Over the past decade, deducing a country’s gross domestic product from how much it glows in nighttime satellite images, a factor called luminosity, has become quite the econ fad. But as clever as it sounds, luminosity isn’t as helpful as you’d think, a new study says. Only in countries that are such a disaster that gathering reliable statistics is impossible is the glow a better approximation of GDP than you’d get with traditional measures.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Physics & Math, Technology
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