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Measuring Patterns of Spatial Income Inequality from Outer Space – Anthony Mveyange (Geo4Dev 2018)


Dr. Anthony Mveyange was an EASST fellow in 2015 and is currently the Director of Research and Impact at Trademark East Africa (TMEA) Ltd., based in Nairobi Kenya, where he is overseeing research and knowledge strategy in eight Eastern African countries in addition to developing an impact evaluation strategy for TMEA’s programs and projects in the region. Before joining TMEA, Anthony worked as research economist in the World Bank Research Development Group in Washington, DC and he is also one of the founding members of the Network of Impact Evaluation Researchers in Africa (NIERA) based in Nairobi, Kenya. NIERA is a newly formed independent network of East African scholars that conduct rigorous evaluations of social and economic development programs in Eastern Africa. Anthony’s main research interests include trade; poverty and inequality; environment and natural resources; education; urban, rural, and social development; and fragility, conflict and violence.

Dr. Anthony Mveyange’s talk is titled: 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 sub-national 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.

The 2nd Annual Symposium on Geospatial Analysis for International Development (Geo4Dev) focused on geospatial research that addresses climate- and conflict-driven migration and humanitarian response. This includes observation and modeling of migration and human settlement patterns (in response to climate or conflict stressors), as well as the design and evaluation of interventions for humanitarian crises, mass migration, and community resilience.

Geo4Dev is a yearly event focused on the use of novel geospatial data and analytic techniques to address issues of poverty, sustainable development, urbanization, climate change, and economic growth in developing countries and beyond. This includes a particular emphasis on the use of emerging geo-tagged big data, including satellite, social media, and CDR datasets.

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