Luca Maria Pesando

Associate Professor

Division of Social Science, New York University (NYU) - Abu Dhabi

I am an Associate Professor of Social Research and Public Policy (SRPP) at New York University - Abu Dhabi, as well as SRPP Associate Program Director and Director of the Inequality research cluster. Previously, I was an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Demography and William Dawson Scholar at the Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University, where I remain an adjunct faculty. I am also a Research Affiliate at the Population Studies Center (PSC), University of Pennsylvania, the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics & Public Policy, Bocconi University, the Cornell Population Center (CPC), Cornell University, and CASER at NYU Shanghai. Aside, I work as consultant with the UNICEF Office of Research-Innocenti and MIT Solve, where I am a LEAP Fellow

I am a 2022-2025 Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow and I was a 2022-2023 Visiting Scholar at the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA), Harvard University.  

My research lies in the areas of social, economic, and digital demography, with a strong focus on public policy. I am interested in issues of family poverty, inequality, gender, stratification, intra- and inter-generational processes, technology adoption, 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 (some interviews on my work can be found here and here). 

Most of my work takes an international comparative perspective and focuses on low- and middle-income contexts (LMICs) 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 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. 

My CV is available here.