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IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Work in Progress Seminar

Waterborne diseases and children's learning

Steve Berggreen (Lund University), joint with Linn Mattisson (Lund University)

Thursday 11 May 2023 13:00 - 14:00

Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.

Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.

Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.

About this event

Unsafe water kills 1.2 million people every year, yet there is little research on the environmental and social risk factors of waterborne disease incidence and the consequences for children’s learning. Building on recent advances in hydrological engineering, we construct a hydrological model for Tanzania that simulates the appearance of stagnant water pools – essential to the growth and spread of waterborne pathogens – which we use as a measure of waterborne disease potential. Using a difference-in-differences approach, we find that test scores are reduced by 0.07 standard deviations for every 10pp increase in the area covered by stagnant water, and diarrhoea prevalence increases by 33%. These results mask important heterogeneities: We find that the most vulnerable children are those who live in urban areas with poor sanitation. Access to safe sanitation attenuates the negative effect of waterborne disease potential on both children’s health and learning, which suggests that policy-makers should incorporate local environmental risk factors when implementing sanitation policies in regions vulnerable to waterborne disease.

This seminar series is jointly organized by the IFS, STICERD, and UCL.

IFS/STICERD/UCL Development Economics Work In Progress seminars are held on Thursdays in term time at 13:00-14:00, at the IFS, unless specified otherwise.

Seminar organisers: Oriana Bandiera (STICERD, LSE), Imran Rasul (UCL), Britta Augsburg (IFS) and Jonathan Weigel (LSE).

For further information please contact Britta Augsburg:

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