Abstract: Accurate estimates of the magnitude and spatial distribution of both formal and informal economic activity have many useful applications. Developing alternative methods for making estimates of these economic activities may prove to be useful when other measures are of suspect accuracy or unavailable. This research explores the potential for estimating the formal and informal economy for Mexico using known relationships between the spatial patterns of nighttime satellite imagery and economic activity in the United States (U.S.). Regression models have been developed between spatial patterns of nighttime imagery and Adjusted Official Gross State Product (AGSP) for the U.S. states. These regression parameters derived from the regression models of the U.S. were ‘blindly’ applied to Mexico to estimate the Estimated Gross State Income (EGSI) at the sub-national level and the Estimated Gross Domestic Income (EGDI) at the national level. Comparison of the EGDI estimate of Mexico against the official Gross National Income (GNI) estimate suggests that the magnitude of Mexico’s informal economy and the inflow of remittances are 150 percent larger than their existing official estimates in the GNI.
Keywords: nighttime satellite imagery; informal economy; gross national income; gross domestic product; globalization; law of allometric growth
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Ghosh, T.; Anderson, S.; Powell, R.L.; Sutton, P.C.; Elvidge, C.D. Estimation of Mexico’s Informal Economy and Remittances Using Nighttime Imagery. Remote Sens. 2009, 1, 418-444.
Ghosh T, Anderson S, Powell RL, Sutton PC, Elvidge CD. Estimation of Mexico’s Informal Economy and Remittances Using Nighttime Imagery. Remote Sensing. 2009; 1(3):418-444.
Ghosh, Tilottama; Anderson, Sharolyn; Powell, Rebecca L.; Sutton, Paul C.; Elvidge, Christopher D. 2009. "Estimation of Mexico’s Informal Economy and Remittances Using Nighttime Imagery." Remote Sens. 1, no. 3: 418-444.