Seminar Series: Paul Novosad
Machine-age tools for understanding economic development: Harnessing new data sources on access to opportunity in India
Policy-making in developing countries still depends on traditional sample surveys. Remote sensing and data exhaust from government administration create a wealth of high resolution data on socioeconomic patterns and changes. We are building a new open data platform that solves some of the technical and institutional challenges that have limited the use of data like these until now. Based on the principles of open source software, our platform aims to create incentives for social scientists to share data that has previously been tied up in silos, and to provide the technical infrastructure that makes it convenient to share data that is useful for others. The utility of the platform, which currently covers India, is demonstrated by using the underlying data to document changes in upward mobility in India with high geographic precision, as well as the distribution of caste- and religion-based residential segregation in towns across the country.
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