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Johns Hopkins SAIS expert develops new data platform for study of economic progress in India

In developing countries, policy-makers often have insufficient knowledge of socioeconomic conditions throughout the country. The household surveys most often used for research and policy and as the basis for national statistics rarely describe conditions with high geographic resolution.
To address this issue, Sam Asher, Assistant Professor of International Economics at Johns Hopkins SAIS, collaborated with Paul Novosad, Assistant Professor of Economics at Dartmouth College’s Department of Economics, to develop a new data platform, the “Socioeconomic High-resolution Urban-Rural geographic data platform for India (SHRUG).” This data platform, hosted by Development Data Lab, consists of data on demographics, political outcomes, and administrative data on government programs in India’s villages and towns, ranging from the early 1990s to mid-2010s.
By linking administrative data from the 1990s to the present, the data platform will also serve as a backbone for collaboration between other researchers. For the first time, there is a set of national village and town identifiers that can be linked across time — by using the data platform, other researchers can ensure that their work can be integrated seamlessly with the data workflows of other researchers.
Professor Asher is available for interviews and background discussions on the data set and can also address the following:  

  • The geography of socioeconomic change and upward mobility in India
  • The role of cities and structural change in reducing poverty in developing countries
  • Previous barriers to compiling accurate data locally in India

For more information on SHRUG, please visit     
Media Contact
Jason Lucas
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Johns Hopkins SAIS
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About Development Data Lab
Development Data Lab seeks to produce policy-relevant knowledge from the reams of underused data being generated in low income countries. The computerization of government administration has resulted in massive amounts of new data, most of which has not been deployed due to insufficient coordination across agencies and lack of both the resources and skills necessary to leverage such information for policymaking. Building on a decade of research in India by co-founders Professors Sam Asher (Johns Hopkins SAIS) and Paul Novosad (Dartmouth College) in which they developed the platform and tools necessary to analyze such administrative data, the Development Data Lab helps policymakers, companies, and civil society organizations develop evidence-based policies to bring economic growth and opportunity to the world's poorest people and places.
About Johns Hopkins SAIS
A division of Johns Hopkins University, the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or on Twitter @SAISHopkins

Tuesday, September 10, 2019