I am an associate professor of economics at Dartmouth College. I work on economic development, political economy and economic geography using large administrative and remote sensing data. Some of my recent projects have focused on the impacts of India's large-scale rural roads program, the impacts of mineral sector development and on measuring intergenerational mobility in developing countries. I also have several projects on machine learning and statistical methods with applications to the U.S. mortality crisis. I am founder of Development Data Lab and a creator of The SHRUG, which Sam Asher, Toby Lunt and I are turning into the best open data platform for socioeconomic research in India and beyond. My Google Scholar page is here.

Fall 2020 Econ 24 @Dartmouth! If you're interested in this class but can't see the material on Canvas, please see: (i) the syllabus; (ii) a video describing how the course will work.



Rent-Seeking and Criminal Politicians: Evidence from Mining Booms (with Sam Asher)
(Conditionally accepted at Review of Economics and Statistics)


Rural Roads and Local Economic Development (with Sam Asher)
American Economic Review 110:3 (2020)


Educational Investment Responses to Economic Opportunity: Evidence from Indian Road Construction (with Anjali Adukia and Sam Asher)
AEJ: Applied Economics 12:1 (2020)


The Ecological Footprint of Transportation Infrastructure (with Sam Asher and Teevrat Garg)
Economic Journal 130:629, 1173-1199 (2020)


Who Runs the International System? Nationality and Leadership in the United Nations Secretariat (with Eric Werker)
The Review of International Organizations
14:1 (2019)
Replication files and data on nationality of senior UN staff (1947-2013).


Politics and Local Economic Growth: Evidence from India (with Sam Asher)
AEJ: Applied Economics 9:1 (2017).
Replication code and data posted at AEJ:Applied Economics.

Papers Under Review


Mortality Change Among Less Educated Americans (with Sam Asher and Charlie Rafkin) (Revise and Resubmit at AEJ: Applied Economics)
→ Replication/methods code: github/paulnov/paper-nra-mortality


Intergenerational Mobility in India: New Methods and Estimates Across Time, Space, and Communities (with Sam Asher and Charlie Rafkin) (submitted)
Fact Sheet for media.
All-India mobility map.
Interactive Delhi mobility map.
→ Code for generating bottom half mobility (μ-0-50), all-India town, subdistrict, and district-level local mobility estimates: github/paulnov/paper-anr-mobility-india


Moment Forests (with Denis Nekipelov and Stephen P. Ryan) NBER Working Paper No. 22976 (submitted)


The Socioeconomic High-resolution Rural-Urban Geographic panel for India (SHRUG) (with Sam Asher, Toby Lunt, and Ryu Matsuura)
(Revise and resubmit at World Bank Economic Review)
SHRUG Codebook
Download the SHRUG

Work in Progress


The COVID-19 mortality effects of underlying health conditions in India: a modelling study (with Radhika Jain, Alison Campion, and Sam Asher)


Residential Segregation in Urban India (with Anjali Adukia, Sam Asher, and Brandon Tan)


Predicting Poverty Using Daytime Imagery (with Tony Duan, Elliott Chartock, Haque Ishfaq, Sam Asher, Marshall Burke, David Lobell and Stefano Ermon)


The Cost of Distance: Geography and Governance in Rural India (with Sam Asher and Karan Nagpal)


 Digging for Development: Economic Impacts of Mining Booms (with Sam Asher)


The Cost of Road Infrastructure in Tanzania (with Sam Asher and Martina Kirchberger)


Regulation Intensity, Rents and the Sectoral Concentration of Wealth (with Sam Asher and Michael Walton)

Working Papers on Hold


The Impacts of Local Control over Political Institutions: Evidence from State Splitting in India (with Sam Asher)

Retired Working Papers


Getting Signal from Interval Data: Theory and Applications to Mortality and Intergenerational Mobility (with Sam Asher and Charlie Rafkin)
→ This methods paper has been integrated into the mortality and mobility papers above and retired.