Artificial nighttime lights and the “real” well-being of nations: ‘Measuring economic growth from outer space’ and welfare from right here on Earth
Abstract. GDP remains too much of an imprecise measure of the standard of living. There is a need for either substitutes or complements. Nighttime lights are a reasonable indicator of the extent, scale, and intensity of socio-economic activities, but a poor measure of national welfare. However, if nighttime lights are understood to constitute externalities, then their effects can be used to adjust measured growth for welfare. From that angle, nighttime lights appear to exert sub-optimal positive externalities in developing countries, and supra-optimal negative externality in developed countries. This means that even if we assume equal growth rates in developing and developed countries, welfare is enhanced by increasing nighttime lights in developing countries and reduced by increasing nighttime lights in developed countries.
Keywords. Artificial lights and economic growth, Nighttime lights and growth, Growth and welfare, Nighttime lights and real well-being (welfare).JEL. H23, O15, D62, I12, O47, I31, R13, Q52.
Adelman, I., & Taft M. (1972). Society, Politics, and Economic Development: A Quantitative Approach. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
AMA (American Medical Association), (2012). Human and environmental effects of light emitting diode community lighting. [Retrieved from].
Amavilah, V.H. (2016). Productivity and technical change according to Salter - A not. Journal of Economic and Social Thought, 3(2), 303-307.
Amavilah, V.H. (2016). The ‘common good’ in Pope Francis’s social welfare hypothesis. MPRA Paper, No.71760. [Retrieved from].
Amavilah, V.H. (2014a). Human knowledge and a commonsensical measure of human capital: A proposal. MPRA Paper, No.57670. [Retrieved from].
Amavilah, V.H. (2014b). Knowledge = Technology + Human capital and the Lucas and Romer Production Functions, MPRA Paper, No.58847. [Retrieved from].
Amavilah, V.H. (2014c). Sir W. Arthur Lewis and the Africans: Overlooked economic growth lessons, MPRA Paper, No.57126. [Retrieved from].
Anand, S., & Sen, A.K., (1994). Human development index: Methodology and measurement. United Nations Development Programme. [Retrieved from].
Anand, P., Hunter, G., & Smith, R., (2005). Capabilities and well-being: Evidence based on Sen-Nussbaum approach to welfare, Social Indicators Researc. 74(1), 9-55. doi. 10.1007/s11205-005-6518-z
Asongu, S.A. (2015). Rational asymmetric development, Piketty and the spirit of poverty in Africa. AGDI Working Paper, No.WP/15/006. [Retrieved from].
Aube, M., Roby, J., & Kocifaj, M., (2013). Evaluating Potential Spectral Impacts of Various Artificial Lights on Melatonin Suppression, Photosynthesis, and Star Visibility. PLOS One. doi. 10.1371/journal.pone.0067798
Backhaus, A. (2016). When and where do night lights reflect development? Population Economics, Department of Economics, LMU Munich (October).
Becker, G.S. (1993). Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education, Third Edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Bedrosian, T.A., & Nelson, R.J. (2013). Influence of the modern light environment on mood. Molecular Psychiatry, 18(7), 751-757. doi. 10.1038/mp.2013.70
Bhagwati, J. (1958). Immiserizing growth: A geometrical note, Review of Economic Studies, 3, 201-205. doi. 10.2307/2295990
Bickenbach, F., Bode, E., Lange, M., & Nunnenekamp, P. (2013). Night lights and regional GDP. Kiel Institute for the World Economy Working Paper, No.1888. [Retrieved from].
Bilanchine, E., & D’Alessandro, S. (2012). Long run welfare under externalities in consumption, leisure, and production: A case for happy de-growth v. unhappy growth, Ecological Economics, 84, 194-205. doi. 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2011.10.023
Bundervoet, T., Maiyo, L., & Sanghi, A. (2013). Bright lights, big cities: measuring national and subnational economic growth in Africa from outer space, with an application to Kenya and Rwanda. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, No.WPS7461. [Retrieved from].
Chaiwat, T. (2016). Night lights, economic growth, and spatial inequality in Thailand. Pier Discussion Paper, No.2016. [Retrieved from].
Cho, Y., et. al., (2015). Effects of artificial light at night on human health: A literature review of observational and experimental studies applied to exposure assessment. Chronobiology International Vol.32 (9, Epub).
Coyle, D. (2014). GDP: A Brief but Affectionate History. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Drake C.L., Roehrs, T., Richardson, G., Walsh, J.K., & Roth, T. (2004). Shift work sleep disorder: prevalence and consequences beyond that of symptomatic day workers. Sleep, 27(8), 1453-1462.
Durant, J., Michaelides, E.B., Rupasinghe, T., Tull, O., Green, M.P., & Jones, M. (2015). Constant illumination reduces circulating melatonin and impairs immune function in the cricket Teleogryllus commodus. PeerJ. 3-e1075.
Easterlin, R.A., McVey, L.A., Switek, M., Sawangfa, O., & Zweig, S. (2010). The happiness-income paradox revisted. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States (PNAS), 107(52). [Retrieved from].
Easterlin, R.A. (1995). Will raising the incomes of all increase the happiness of all? Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 27(1), 35-47. doi. 10.1016/0167-2681(95)00003-B
Easterlin, R.A. (1973). Does money buy happiness? Public Interest, 30, 3-10.
Elvidge, C.D., Sutton, P.C., Ghosh, T., Tuttle, B.T., Baugh, K.E., Bhanduri, B., et al. (2009). A Global Poverty Map Derived from Satellite Data, Computers & Geosciences, 35(8), 1652-1660. doi. 10.1016/j.cageo.2009.01.009
Elvidge, C.D., Baugh, K.E., Dietz J.B., Bland T., Sutton P.C., & Kroehl H.W. (1999). Radiance Calibration of DMSP-OLS Low-light Imaging Data of Human Settlements, Remote Sensing of Environment, 68(1), 77-88. doi. 10.1016/S0034-4257(98)00098-4
Elvidge, C.D., Baugh, K.E., Kihn, E.A., Kroehl, H.W., & Davis, E.R. (1997). Relation between satellite observed visible-near infrared emissions, population, and energy consumption, International Journal of Remote Sensing, 18, 1373–1379. doi. 10.1080/014311697218485
Falchi, F., et al., (2011). Limiting the impact of light pollution on human, environment, and stellar visibility. Journal of Evironmental Management, 92(10), 2714-2722. doi. 10.1016/j.jenvman.2011.06.029
Falchi, F., et al. (2016). World atlas of artificial night sky brightness. [Retrieved from].
Fleurbaey, M. (2009). Beyong GDP: The quest for a measure of social welfare. Journal of Economic Literature, 47(4), 1029-1075. doi. 10.1257/jel.47.4.1029
Ghosh, T., Anderson, S.J., Elvidge, C.D., & Sutton. P.C. (2013). Using nighttime satellite imagery as a proxy measure of human well-being. Sustainability, 5(12), 4988-5019. doi. 10.3390/su5124988
Ghosh, T., Anderson, S., Powell, R.L., Sutton, P.C., & Elvidge, C.D. (2009). Estimation of Mexico’s Informal Economy and Remittances Using Nighttime Imagery. Remote Sensing, 1(3), 418-444. doi. 10.3390/rs1030418
Ghosh, T., Powell, R.L., Elvidge, C.D., Baugh, K.E., Sutton, P.C., & Anderson, S. (2010). Shedding Light on the Global Distribution of Economic Activity. The Open Geography Journal, 3, 148-161. doi. 10.2174/1874923201003010147
Gumenyuk, V., Howard, R., Roth, T., Korzyukov, O., & Drake, C.L. (2014). Sleep loss, circadian mismatch, and abnormalities in reorienting of attention in night workers with shift work disorder. Sleep, 37(3), 545-556. doi. 10.5665/sleep.3494
Haim, A., & Portnov, B.A. (2013). Light Pollution as a New Risk Factor of Human Breast and Prostate Cancer. New York: Springer.
Henderson, J.V., Soreygard, A., & Weil, D.N. (2012). Measuring economic growth from outer space, American Economic Review, 102(2), 994-1028. doi. 10.1257/aer.102.2.994
Horts, P. Undated. Light pollution harms the environment. [Retrieved from].
Horts, P., (2017). The importance of protecting the night sky. Plos One, 10.1371/journal.pone.0174610
Jones, C.I., & Klenow, P.J. (2016). Beyond GDP? Welfare across countries and time. American Economic Review, 106(9), 2426-2457. doi. 10.1257/aer.20110236
Klenow, P.J.., & Rodrigues-Clare, A. (2005). Externalities and growth, in Growth, P. Aghion and S.N. Durlauf (eds), Handbook of Economics Volume 1, Part A, (pp.817-861) New York: Elsevier.
Kyba, C., Garz, S., Kuechly, H., de Miguel, A., Zamorano, J., Fischer, J., & Hölker, F. (2014). High-Resolution Imagery of Earth at Night: New Sources, Opportunities and Challenges. Remote Sensing, 7(1), 1-23. doi. 10.3390/rs70100001
Lewis, W.A. (1965). The Theory of Economic Growth. New York: Harper Torchbooks/ Harper & Row, Publishers.
Lucas, Jr. R. (1993). Making a miracle, Econometrica, 61(2), 251-272. doi. 10.2307/2951551
Lucas, Jr, R.E. (2009). Ideas and growth, Economica, 76(301), 1-19. doi. 10.1111/j.1468-0335.2008.00748.x
Lucas, Jr., R. (1988). On the mechanics of economic development, Journal of Monetary Economics, 22(1), 2-42. doi. 10.1016/0304-3932(88)90168-7
Luginbuhl, CB, Boley PA, & Davis DR. 2014. The impact of light source spectral power distribution on sky glow. Journal of Quant. Spectrosc. Radiat. Transf., 139, 21-26 doi. 10.1016/j.jqsrt.2013.12.004
Mellander, C., Lobo, J., Stolarick, K., & Matheson, Z., (2015). Night-time light data: A good proxy measure for economic activity? PLoS ONE, 10(10): e0139779. doi. 10.1371/journal.pone.0139779
Pinkovskiy, M.L. (2013). Economic discontinuities at borders: Evidence from satellite data on lights at night. MIT Working Paper. [Retrieved from].
Proville, J., Zavala-Araiza, D., & Wagner, G. (2017). Night-time lights: a global, long term look at links to socio-economic trends. PLOS One. doi. 10.1371/journal.pone.0174610
Robeyns, I. (2003). The capability approach: An interdisciplinary introduction. [Retrieved from].
Romer, P.M. (1986). Increasing returns and long-run growth. Journal of Political Economy, 94(5), 1002-1037. doi. 10.1086/261420
Romer, P.M. (2010). Technologies, rules, and progress: The case for charter cities. Center for Global Development. [Retrieved from].
Romer, P.M. (1990). Endogenous technological change. Journal of Political Economy, 98(5), S71-S102. doi. 10.1086/261725
Romer, P.M. (2009). A thoeory of history, with and application. [Retrieved from].
Saleh, T. (2007). Effects of Artificial Lighting on Wildlife. RoadRIPorter, 12(2), 5-15.
Schultz, T.W. (1981). Investing in People: The Economics of Population Quality. Berkeley: University of California press.
Schultz, T.W. (1961). Investment in human capital, American Economic Review, 51(1), 1-17.
Schultz, T.W. (1979). Investing in population quality throughout low-income countries, in P.M. Hauser (Ed.). World population and Development: Challenges and Prospects. (pp.339-360), New York: Syracuse University Press.
Sen, A.K. (1989). Development as capability expansion, Journal of Development Planning, 19, 41-58.
Sen, A.K. (1979). Equality of What? Stanford University: Tanner Lectures on Human Values (Available from the Tanner Lectures website). [Retrieved from].
Sen, A.K. (1985). Commodities and Capabilities. Amsterdam: North Holland.
Sen, A.K. (1979). Personal utilities and public judgements: Or what's wrong with welfare economics? The Economic Journal, 89, 537-558. doi. 10.2307/2231867
Sen, A.K. (1984). Rights and Capabilities. In Resources, Values and Development. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Small, C., Elvidge, C.D., Balk, D., Montgomery, M. (2011). Spatial scaling of stable night lights, Remote Sensing of Environment, 115, 269-280. doi. 10.1016/j.rse.2010.08.021
Stevenson, B., & Welfers, J. (2008). Economic growth and subjective well-being: reassessing the Easterlin paradox. NBER Working Paper, No.14282. doi. 10.3386/w14282
Syrquin, M. (2016). A review eassay on GDP: A brief but affectionate histroy by Diane Coyle. Journal of Economic Literature, 54(2), 573-588. doi. 10.1257/jel.54.2.573
Tamura, R. (1991). Income convergence in an endogenous growth model, Journal of Political Economy, 99, 522-540. doi. 10.1086/261765
Temple, J., & Johnson, P.A. (1998). Social capability and economic growth, Quarterly Journal of Economics, 113(3), 965-990. doi. 10.1162/003355398555711Young, A. (2012). The African growth miracle. Journal of Political Economy, 120(4), 696-739. doi. 10.1086/668501
- There are currently no refbacks.
Journal of Economics and Political Economy - J. Econ. Pol. Econ. - JEPE - www.kspjournals.org
Copyright © KSP Library