Luca Maria Pesando

Assistant Professor

Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University

I am an Assistant Professor of Sociology and Demography at the Department of Sociology and Centre on Population Dynamics, McGill University, and a William Dawson Scholar. Before joining McGill, I was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Population Studies Center (PSC) of the University of Pennsylvania, where I remain a Research Affiliate. At Penn, I primarily worked on the Global Family Change (GFC) NSF-funded project. I am also a research affiliate at the Dondena Centre for Research on Social Dynamics and Public Policy at Bocconi University, and a 2022-2025 Jacobs Foundation Research Fellow. On the side, I work as part-time consultant with the UNICEF Office of Research and MIT Solve.

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.

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.

My CV is available here.