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Economy, As Seen From Space


Reliable data on economic growth is hard to come by in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. Yet according to scientists, outer space offers a new perspective for measuring economic growth.

Using satellite images of nighttime lights, J. Vernon Henderson, Adam Storeygard, and David N. Weil from Brown University have created a new framework for estimating a country or region’s gross domestic product, or GDP by observing the changes in a country’s “night lights” as seen from outer space.

“Consumption of nearly all goods in the evening requires lights,” they write in a National Bureau of Economic Research working paper. “As income rises, so does light usage per person, in both consumption activities and many investment activities.”

The researchers don’t envision the lights density data as a replacement for official numbers, but when added to existing data from agencies like the World Bank, the lights density can provide a better indicator of how these economies really are performing.

USA and Canada still going strong or are the lights dimming over there?

Absolutely devastating difference between Europe and Africa.

Japan brightly lid, India & China lighting up. The difference between North and South Korea is stark. Are those people in Australia energy saving perhaps?

South America is lighting up. Including the rain forest?

Source: Futurity.org. Images: Night Satellite Photos. Related: World Mapper: Toys import/exports of the world, If the implications of Global Warming were fair, Mapping the DNA world.

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