Sunday, November 04, 2012

Lights at Night: The Case of NYC

A team of Brown University economists have used lights at night to study economic growth around the world.  You can read their paper here.    Economists have pointed out the discontinuity in light at night at the South Korea/North Korea border.   Now, the prestigious journal called "New York Magazine" has documented the spatial discontinuity at 39th street.  Here is a dramatic photo:

This picture highlights that another self protection strategy will be increased investment in backup power generation capacity.  While this will raise local air pollution, it will allow households to have reliable power when the grid goes down.  In developing nations such as China and India, businesses and households are used to regular blackouts.   If our monopolist power generation companies can't keep the lights on (and we know this), then new competition for providing service will benefit us all.