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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Light Gini

For John, BLUFSome Geeks have a formula for understand economic development based on light generated at night.

The abstract for a study of global nighttime lighting, as an indictor for economic development can be found here, and is produced below.

Dynamics and Spatial Distribution of Global Nighttime Lights
Nicola Pestalozzi, Peter Cauwels, Didier Sornette
(Submitted on 12 Mar 2013)

Using open source data, we observe the fascinating dynamics of nighttime light.  Following a global economic regime shift, the planetary center of light can be seen moving eastwards at a pace of about 60 km per year.  Introducing spatial light Gini coefficients, we find a universal pattern of human settlements across different countries and see a global centralization of light.  Observing 160 different countries we document the expansion of developing countries, the growth of new agglomerations, the regression in countries suffering from demographic decline and the success of light pollution abatement programs in western countries.

Gini coefficients?  From Wikipedia:
The Gini coefficient measures the inequality among values of a frequency distribution (for example levels of income).  A Gini coefficient of zero expresses perfect equality, where all values are the same (for example, where everyone has an exactly equal income).  A Gini coefficient of one (100 on the percentile scale) expresses maximal inequality among values (for example where only one person has all the income).
This nighttime light as seen from space can be seen playing out in the real world.  A photograph from space shows South Korea as ablaze with light and shows North Korea as a dark location.  And so it is with the respective economies.  South Korea has a per capita GDP of $32,431 (2012).  In contrast, North Korea has a per capita GDP of $2,400.  That North Korean number would be 7.5% of the South Korean per capita GDP.

But, they do have nuclear weapons in North Korea.

Here is the link to the PDF of the study.

Regards  —  Cliff

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