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ECA Talk: How Much Should We Trust the Dictator’s GDP Growth Estimates?

February 15, 2023

Presentation by Luis Martinez, Assistant Professor at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago

Presentation by Somik Lall, Lead Economist in the World Bank Office of the Chief Economist for Equitable Growth, Finance and Institutions 

Should we trust GDP growth estimates provided by autocratic regimes? The focus of this discussion, part of the ECA Talks series, is on evidence that data from nighttime lights (NTL) recorded by satellites from outer space suggests autocracies are significantly overestimating GDP growth. 


  • Date: February 15, 2023
  • Time: 10:00-11:30 AM EDT
  • Chair: Ivailo Izvorski, Chief Economist, Europe and Central Asia, World Bank
  • CONTACT: Suzette Samms-Lindsay