ECSSI 2019

Conference on
Empirical and Computational
Social Sciences in India
2019, Ashoka University


India presents a microcosm of social and political phenomena which intrigue social scientists worldwide. Be it questions about the nature of democracy and how India has managed to stay together as a nation for seven decades, or changes and continuities in the various systems of stratification such as religion and caste, or the multiple non-state groups/organizations who rely on both institutional and extra-institutional means for making claims – understanding India is an intellectual challenge. One of the ways that we can address this challenge is through building a community of scholars who are committed to understanding complex social and political processes by engaging in collaborative efforts, grounding inferences in sound and ethical data collection practices, and lastly who practice an open and transparent data sharing policy. Ashoka University is uniquely placed to build such a community of scholars.


Deepak Malghan (Indian Institute of Management)Christian Davenport (University of Michigan)
Brian Min (University of Michigan)Naveen Bharathi (Harvard University)
Aaditya Dar (Indian School of Business)Gilles Verniers (Ashoka University)
Basim Nissa (Ashoka University)Mohit Kumar (Ashoka University)
Saloni Bhogale (Ashoka University)Priyamvada Trivedi (Ashoka University)
Sadam Hussain (Ashoka University)Aditi Shah (Ashoka University)
Gaurika Kumar (Ashoka University)Kesar Majethia (Ashoka University)
Emily Russell (University of Michigan)Ishika Sharan (Ashoka University)
Rasika Gopalakrishnan (Ashoka University)Huzaafa (Ashoka University)
Debayan Ghosh (Ashoka University)

ECSSI 2019 Workshop

Before you Arrive

– We request you download or at least try to download R, RStudio and QGIS before arriving on campus.
– We need you to have Microsoft Excel or OpenOffice installed.
– Bring your own laptop. You will be given access to WiFi on campus.
R (3.5 or above):
RStudio (frontend to R):


Location: AC-03 LR-004

11:00am-1:00pmBrian Min – Night Lights Data Workshop: Tracking Human Activity from Space
2:00pm-4:00pmNaveen Bharathi – Measuring Residential Segregation in Indian Cities
4:30pm-6:30pmAaditya Dar – Geospatial Data in Agricultural Economics


Brian Min is Associate Professor of Political Science and Research Associate Professor at the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Power and the Vote: Elections and Electricity in the Developing World (Cambridge University Press, 2015). His research uses high resolution satellite imagery to study the politics of rural electrification across the developing world. He has collaborated closely with the World Bank to develop new methods using remote sensing and statistical algorithms to plan and monitor electrification projects in settings including India, Ghana, Senegal, Mali, Kenya, Pakistan, and Vietnam. His current research focuses on the political targeting of power outages using high frequency satellite data. He holds degrees from Cornell, Harvard Kennedy School, and UCLA.

My research interests are at the intersection of political sociology and political economy of identity in India. Specifically, my research explores the relationship between ethnic diversity and development, most broadly conceived. I have written about issues ranging from the relationship between ethnic diversity and public goods provisioning to spatial segregation in contemporary urban India. My research has been covered by many media publications and journals. Prior to his career in research, I have worked as an architect and planner in many distinguished architectural and planning firms in India. Currently I am a South Asia Fellow at The Lakshmi Mittal and Family South Asia Institute, Harvard University.

Aaditya Dar

I am an Assistant Professor of Economics at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. My research examines the social, political and historical factors that cause and accentuate poverty, and how individuals and communities can break away from these structural constraints. One strand of my work focuses on political selection, state capacity, conflict and governance. A second strand engages with agrarian issues such as analyzing the welfare consequences of adopting modern technologies. I rely on a variety of methods ranging from randomized controlled trials to natural experiments to inform answers to various questions. I combine applied microeconometric techniques with spatial data, natural language processing of archives, rapid-ethnographies and mini-biographies to provide a “thick description” of research that it is both well grounded and empirically rigorous. My research is supported by funding from Azim Premji University and Foundation, Election Commission of India, International Growth Center and Sigur Center for Asian Studies at The Elliott School of International Affairs.

ECSSI 2019 Schedule

8:00am-9:00amGilles Verniers: Welcome
9:00am-9:30amPriyamvada Trivedi
9:30am-10:00amBasim Nissa
10:00am-10:30amAditi Shah and Sadam Hussain
11:30am-12:15pmEmily Russell, Gaurika Kumar and Kesar Majethia
2:15pm-2:45pmIshika Sharan and Rasika Gopalakrishnan
9:00am-9:15amAditi Shah
9:15am-9:30amSadam Hussain
10:00am-10:30amEmily Russell
11:30am-11:45amBasim Nissa and Debayan Ghosh
1:30pm-2:30pmDeepak Malghan
11:00am-1:00pmBrian Min – Night Lights Data Workshop: Tracking Human Activity from Space
2:00pm-4:00pmNaveen Bharathi – Measuring Residential Segregation in Indian Cities
4:30pm-6:30pmAaditya Dar – Geospatial Data in Agricultural Economics