Luca Maria Pesando


Associate Professor of Social Research & Public Policy, New York University, Abu Dhabi

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.