Large Natural Disasters and Economics Activity: Using Nighttime Light Data  – Job Market Paper


In this paper, I studied the impacts of large natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and storms have on economic activity. I used nighttime light intensity data as a proxy for economic activity. On a local level, using the data of three large earthquakes within a 200-mile radius from the earthquake’s epicenter, I found that when the distance from the epicenter increases, the nighttime light intensity decreased. With a sample restricted to a 50-mile radius after an earthquake, the decrease in nighttime light intensity is more pronounced when the distance from the epicenter increases. By using the synthetic control approach, on a national-level analysis, I found that while three of nine large natural disasters had a positive impact on economic activity, one natural disaster had a negative impact and the other five did not have any significant impact on economic activity. When aggregating all nine large natural disasters, I found a small but positive impact on economic activity of the country in four to five years following the natural disasters. However, this positive impact dissipated after four to five years. Given these statistics, rescue and rebuilding efforts increase economic activity around a natural disaster zone.



I analyzed the impacts of time zone boundaries on school performance for elementary, middle and high schools in the United States. Sharp discontinuity on time introduced by time zone boundaries creates more sleep duration and more evening time for people on the west side of the time zone boundary. By using regression discontinuity method, I found that schools located on the west side of the time zone boundary have higher average scores than the schools located on the east side of the time zone boundary in elementary, middle and high school level. Effects are higher for middle schools and high schools compared to elementary schools. Results are robust to different bandwidth selection and different model specifications.

Aligned City Mayors and Economic Activity in Coalition and One-Party Governments: Using Nighttime Light Intensity Data for Turkey


Decision makers have different objectives when allocating a country’s resources. In order to secure a spot in government, decision makers in the political party in power might try allocating resources to win more votes in future elections. This study analyzes political favoritism under different government types (i.e., coalition government and one-party government) by using nighttime light intensity as a proxy for economic activity in a region. Results show that during a coalition government era, cities that have mayors whose political party is aligned with one of the political parties in the coalition have more economic activity, while during the one-party government era, cities with aligned mayors have less economic activity.