Department of Economic History

Lund University School of Economics and Management

Dr. Mattias Lindgren

Statistics Manager at Gapminder, Sweden

"Does schooling make sense? A household perspective on the returns to schooling for self-employed, farmers and employees in Egypt", PhD 2005

Dr. Mattias Lindgren is originally from Sweden. He defended his PhD on the value-added of schooling for individuals across various social groups in Egypt at the Economic History Department in 2005. His research addressed strategically intricate issues of low returns, schooling quality and education policy problems. Dr. Lindgren's academic and professional career demonstrates how the top-notch quantitative analysis techniques combined with the economic history concepts are successfully brought to life in an extraordinary way to explain actual economic development processes and to demonstrate the evolution of the most pressing global issues such as poverty, inequality and economic transformation.

Dr. Lindgren is currently a Statistics Manager at Gapminder, an entrepreneurial venture based on interactive software that basically converts numbers to graphics. Gapminder uses interactive tools like moving graphs to explain statistics to a broad audience from schools and universities to UN agencies, public and non-profit organizations. Lindgren's job is integral to the organization and includes data management and presentation from compiling the datasets and converting them into presentations, videos and other types of educational material for the clients. "We make research and try to explain it to broader groups", he adds, "We explain scientific facts in a fun way".

Dr. Lindgren's career is closely related to his academic experiences. Collaborating with his research tutor, he started to work with Gapminder software contents as a PhD student at the Economic History Department. He subsequently also worked with evaluation for the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency, SIDA.

Dr. Lindgren particularly notes the usefulness of the scientific methods acquired and used in his PhD research: "Perhaps, what I did not appreciate before to the same extent was the value of the scientific methods, from statistical analysis to source criticism, or interview techniques". "If I did it again", he adds, "I would have again paid particular attention to the methods."

Speaking of his Economic History background, he emphasized one crucial skill that it provides to a professional: being able to analytically interpret the data to understand big transitions in the world, which is possible due to the long-term cross-disciplinary development perspective of economic history. Although he no longer lives in Lund, Dr. Lindgren still finds inspiration for some of his activities here and stays in touch with former colleagues at the Department.

Dr. Mattias Lindgren
Age: 38
Current city: Stockholm
Family: Married, with one child