Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series in Economics and Institutions of Innovation,
Royal Institute of Technology, CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies

No 218: Global Metropolis - assessing economic activity in global centers based on nighttime satellite images

Richard Florida , Charlotta Mellander () and Tim Gulden
Additional contact information
Richard Florida: Martin Prosperity Institute
Charlotta Mellander: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, Postal: CESIS - Centre of Excellence for Science and Innovation Studies, Royal Institute of Technology, SE-100 44 Stockholm, Sweden
Tim Gulden: Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy

Abstract: This research provides new data and insight metropolitan areas worldwide. It summarizes new data, derived from satellite images of the world at night, to provide systematic estimates of the economic activity generated by cities and metropolitan areas worldwide. It identifies 681 global metropolitan areas each with more than 500,000 people. Taken as a whole, these large global metropolitan regions house 24 percent of world population but produce 60 percent of global output, measured as light emissions. Asia leads the way in global economic urbanization according to our findings, followed by North America, the emerging economies, and Europe.

Keywords: Metro regions; Globalization; Urbanization; Nighttime lights

JEL-codes: O18; R10

28 pages, February 11, 2010

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