City Development Product (CDP): Data Architecture For Sustained Economic Development In Pakistan

Theme/Relevant Ministry:

M/o Finance; Finance departments (all provinces); M/o PDSI; P&D Boards (all provinces)

Project Brief:

This project uses multiple sources of publicly accessible remotely sensed satellite data as the primary source for estimating Pakistan’s Regional Domestic Product (RDP) at the city level. In the absence of a formal System of Regional Accounts (SRA) which requires repeat economic censuses, the RDP can be a sufficient statistic for tracking economic growth and development at lower administrative levels where identification and preparation of development projects takes place. The author intends to build a unique panel dataset of city-level RDP estimates for Pakistan from 2012-2020, using satellite imagery on night-time luminosity, human settlement patterns, and machine learning algorithms. In addition to empowering local economic planning, this dataset can serve as a baseline layer for public policy along multiple dimensions, including evidence-based impact evaluation of development spending, rural-urban migration, structural change, and urban planning.

The goal is this project is to provide an open access repository of decentralized economic growth data for Pakistani cities which can be used for evidence-based research on Pakistan. In its conclusion, the project will produce a panel dataset of spatial economic growth for Pakistani cities from 2012-2020 using highly granular satellite data and a well-defined, academically sound estimation methodology.

 Public Policy Relevance:

City District Product (CDP) can aid Intergovernmental resource distribution bodies such as the National Finance Commission (NFC) and Provincial Finance Commissions (PFCs) in developing formulaic distribution criteria based on the CDP and provincial GDP. This also creates a performance yardstick for federal and provincial governments to bargain for an increase/decrease in the share of the financial award and allocation of development funds.

Unedited Working Paper and Policy Brief prepared for the Second RASTA Conference can be downloaded from the link:

CGP 02-098
Mohammad Ahmad
PhD Scholar, Tufts University, USA (PI)
08 months
Rs. 3,500,000/-