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Technical Note

Nightlights and Subnational Economic Activity: Estimating Departmental GDP in Paraguay

1
School of Global Policy and Strategy, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #0519, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
2
School of Global Policy and Strategy, SDG Policy Initiative, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive #0519, La Jolla, CA 92093, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ran Goldblatt, Nicholas Jones, Nicholas Clinton and Trevor Monroe
Remote Sens. 2022, 14(5), 1150; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14051150
Received: 13 January 2022 / Revised: 16 February 2022 / Accepted: 21 February 2022 / Published: 25 February 2022
Subnational measures of economic activity are crucial for analyzing inequalities that persist across subnational regions and for tracking progress towards sustainable development within a country. Eighteen of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) indicators require having estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), making subnational GDP estimates crucial for local SDG monitoring. However, many countries do not produce official subnational GDP estimates. Using Paraguay as an example, we show how nightlights imagery from the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite’s Day-Night Band (VIIRS-DNB) and data from neighboring countries can be used to produce subnational GDP estimates. We first estimate the relationship between VIIRS and economic activity in South American countries at the first subnational administrative level, employing various econometric models. Results suggest that nightlights are strongly predictive of subnational GDP variation in South American countries with available data. We assess various models’ goodness-of-fit using both cross-validation against other countries’ subnational GDP data and comparing predictions against an input–output accounting of Paraguay’s subnational GDP. Finally, we use the preferred model to produce a time series of department-level GDP in Paraguay. View Full-Text
Keywords: VIIRS; subnational GDP; SDG monitoring; nightlights; Paraguay VIIRS; subnational GDP; SDG monitoring; nightlights; Paraguay
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MDPI and ACS Style

McCord, G.C.; Rodriguez-Heredia, M. Nightlights and Subnational Economic Activity: Estimating Departmental GDP in Paraguay. Remote Sens. 2022, 14, 1150. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14051150

AMA Style

McCord GC, Rodriguez-Heredia M. Nightlights and Subnational Economic Activity: Estimating Departmental GDP in Paraguay. Remote Sensing. 2022; 14(5):1150. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14051150

Chicago/Turabian Style

McCord, Gordon C., and Mario Rodriguez-Heredia. 2022. "Nightlights and Subnational Economic Activity: Estimating Departmental GDP in Paraguay" Remote Sensing 14, no. 5: 1150. https://doi.org/10.3390/rs14051150

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