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Measuring and explaining patterns of Spatial Income Inequality from Outer Space Evidence from Africa

 

Measuring and explaining patterns of Spatial Income Inequality from Outer Space Evidence from Africa
This paper argues for night–lights data
as an alternative data source for measuring spatial
inequalities in Africa, where the paucity of subnational
income data is persistent. The analysis compares the
statistical relationships between income and lights-based
measures of spatial income inequality in South Africa and
shows that night-lights are a decent proxy for spatial
income inequality. Further analysis of the patterns of
lights-based spatial income inequality across 48 countries
in Africa broadly reveals rising patterns between 1992 and
2013. Following the climate-economy literature, the analysis
also reveals that temperature and precipitation changes
significantly increased spatial inequality in the long-run
and the effects penetrated through income and agriculture
channels across countries in the continent. These findings
provide important lessons for policy discussions about how
to measure, explain the patterns of, and mitigate the
potential drivers of spatial inequality in Africa.
Source: The World Bank – Macroeconomics and Economic growth