Luca Maria Pesando


  • PSC/PARC Researchers Hans-Peter KohlerFrank F. FurstenbergAndres Felipe Castro Torres, and Luca Maria Pesando were featured in a Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research press release on their new article, "Family Change and Variation Through the Lens of Family Configurations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries," published in Population, Space, and Place and supported by the National Science Foundation. This paper is a result of the Global Family Change project, supported by the PSC, which is also a PARC Research Network.

    Key Points:

    • This paper finds a strong correlation between traditional partnership regimes (early and widespread marriage and early transition to motherhood) and traditional gender norms within the household and at a societal level.
    • The correlation between traditional partnership and gender regimes is relatively independent of reproduction levels, meaning it exists in countries with both high and low fertility levels and contraceptive use.
    • In some countries, traditional partnership and gender regimes differentiate between urban and rural geographies suggesting the influence of the Western family model is uneven cross-nationally and more present in urban areas.
    • The family configurational approach developed in this paper encompasses more dimensions, characteristics, and functions in the study of families in a global comparative context. These characteristics include, for example, family formation patterns, gender roles, and fertility.
    • This approach provides new insights and questions on how and why the institution of the family has and will change.
  • Luca Maria Pesando, GGD Alumni and PSC Research Affiliate, was awarded a 2022-2024 Jacobs Foundation Research Fellowship, a globally competitive Fellowship dedicated to improving the development, learning, and living conditions of children and youth worldwide.

  • New Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC): Abufhele, Alejandra, AndrĂ©s Castro Torres, and Luca Maria Pesando. 2021. "Parental Educational Similarity and Infant Health in Chile: Evidence from Administrative Records, 1990-2015." University of Pennsylvania Population Center Working Paper (PSC/PARC), 2021-75.

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University

Ph.D., Demography & Sociology, University of Pennsylvania, 2018
M.A., Demography, University of Pennsylvania, 2016
M.Sc., Economics & Social Sciences, Bocconi University, 2012
B.A., Economics & Social Sciences,Bocconi University, 2010

Entered Program: 
Dissertation Chair: 
Hans-Peter Kohler
Dissertation Committee Member: 
Frank F. Furstenberg
Dissertation Committee Member: 
Jere R. Behrman
Graduation Year: 

I am an Assistant Professor of Demography and Sociology at the Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University. Before joining McGill, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center of the University of Pennsylvania, primarily working on the Global Family Change (GFC) NSF-funded project (Award #1729185).

My research lies in the areas of social, economic, and digital demography. I am interested in issues of family poverty, inequality, gender, stratification, intra- and inter-generational processes, and interactions between life-cycle events and human capital accumulation. My overarching research aim is to produce better knowledge on the link between family change and educational inequalities in areas where these dynamics are changing rapidly and scant research is available. 

Most of my work takes an international comparative perspective and focuses on low- and middle-income contexts undergoing economic, social, and demographic transformations. My main interest is in sub-Saharan Africa, but I have also conducted research on Europe, South Asia, Latin America, and the US. In my research I combine theoretical approaches from sociology and demography with the use of advanced econometric and statistical techniques. Thanks to my background in economics and applied statistical analysis - and prior work experience in the policy world - I have considerable expertise in implementing and evaluating randomized and quasi-randomized study designs. More recently, I have also increasingly conducted research using big data from Google, Facebook, and Twitter to map and understand socio-demographic phenomena.

I hold a Ph.D. in Demography and Sociology (2018) and an MA in Demography (2016) from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MSc (2012) and a BA (2010) in Economics and Social Sciences from Bocconi University.