I am a PhD candidate at the Department of Economics,  Lund University and I will be joining the Global Policy Lab as a postdoc in the fall of 2024. My main interests lie at the intersection of Development and Cultural Economics, and Economic History.

I hold a M.Sc. in Economics and a M.Sc. in Water Resources Engineering, and have a professional background in applied hydrology and climate research.

Job Market Paper

The Curse of Bad Geography: Stagnant Water, Diseases and Children's Human Capital, (with Linn Mattisson)
Recent presentations:  CESifo Workshop on the Economics of Children (LMU Munich), NEUDC 2023 (Harvard), EEA 2023 (UPF), CSAE 2023 (Oxford), Nordic Conference in Development Economics 2023 (University of Gothenburg), EALE 2023 (CERGE)

Waterborne diseases lead to over 6 billion diarrheal episodes per year, with most of the burden on children in low-income countries. We employ hydrological engineering principles to construct a novel measure of stagnant water, crucial to the spread of these diseases. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we estimate the causal effect of stagnant water on the health and cognitive skills of Tanzanian children. A 10 percentage point increase in stagnant water increases local diarrhea incidence rates among children by 30%. Exposure to stagnant water also affects human capital accumulation. Our results show an immediate reduction in the cognitive abilities of affected children, measured by standardized test scores, and this negative effect appears to persist over the long term. The effects on health and cognition are exacerbated by high temperatures and population density, but are completely mitigated by access to safe water and sanitation. We find that projected climate change could triple the burden of waterborne diseases, but that disease awareness in high-risk locations remains low. By showing how stagnant water shocks affect health and cognitive skills of children, our results provide new evidence relevant to the global learning crisis, with millions of children failing to reach their cognitive potential.

Contact info

Email: steve.berggreen (at) gmail.com

Twitter: @SteveBerggreen

Address: Lund University, Department of Economics, Room EC1:261
Tycho Brahes väg 1, 223 62 Lund, Sweden