May 20, 2021

Nocturnal lights as an indicator of subsidy policy

EOC researchers participated in a study by the Bertelsmann Stiftung to investigate the use of satellite measurements of nocturnal light emissions to determine the effect of European subsidies in small-scale, structurally-weak regions. 

It is difficult to obtain a regionally differentiated assessment of the effectiveness of European-level funding. The usual indicators of economic growth, like the gross domestic product, do not allow conclusions to be drawn about small-scale effects. Therefore, the Bertelsmann Stiftung has financed a project to test a new analytic approach in a pilot region together with a research consortium consisting of the German Aerospace Center (DLR), the Austrian Institute of Economic Research (WIFO), the Institute for Economic Research in Munich (ifo) and the Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development (ILS).

A total of 119,116 EU funding projects were linked to 6,571 municipalities in Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. In a second step, high-resolution satellite images were used to determine which infrastructure had emerged in the respective communities during the funding period. In addition, nocturnal light emissions recorded by satellite were consulted as a technique to draw conclusions about the economic growth in the regions and show the effectiveness of European funding measures.

The complete study can be downloaded from the Bertelsmann Stiftung website.


Prof. Hannes Taubenböck

Head of Department
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
German Remote Sensing Data Center (DFD)
Geo-Risks and Civil Security
Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling
Tel: +49 8153 28-2480