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A Light in the Darkness: Russian Cities' Economic Growth Estimation via Night Lights

Student: Natalia Guzenok

Supervisor: Konstantin Kholodilin

Faculty: St.Petersburg School of Economics and Management

Educational Programme: Economics (Bachelor)

Final Grade: 8

Year of Graduation: 2019

The percentage of population living in cities is still steadily increasing. By the beginning of XXI century it exceeded the value of 50%. As for Russia, urban population value is over 70%. Contribution of cities in economic growth is disproportionally higher than the percentage of population living there. Therefore, estimation of macroeconomic indicators on a level of individual cities is getting more and more significant. Unfortunately, there are no official statistics for such indicators in Russia and many other countries. It’s not calculated. To fill this gap, within this work we estimate gross city product (GCP) of the biggest Russian cities, using several alternate approaches. Thereby we can make a crosscheck and reach more reliable results. Besides, using satellite imagery data of night lights, we will extrapolate the growth rates of calculated GCP to the past and will forecast it for the current period. Availability of fresh monthly released satellite imagery data lets us get timely and relatively frequent GCP estimations.

Full text (added May 16, 2019)

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