Pesando, Luca Maria

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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
  • Publication
    A Sequence-Analysis Approach to the Study of the Transition to Adulthood in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
    (2020-06-09) Sironi, Maria; Barban, Nicola; Pesando, Luca Maria; Furstenberg, Frank F.
    This study investigates whether young people in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have experienced processes of de-standardization of the life course similar to those observed in high-income societies. We provide two contributions to the relevant literature. First, we use data from 263 Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) across 69 LMICs, offering the richest comparative account of women’s transition to adulthood (TTA) patterns in the developing world existing to date. In so doing, we shift the focus from individual life-course transitions towards a holistic approach that allows us to characterize the life-course complexity by detailed sequences of events, namely first sexual intercourse, first union, and first birth. Second, using a clustering algorithm based on optimal-matching distances of lifecourse sequences, we identify clusters of TTA and explore their changes across cohorts by region and urban/rural location of residence. Results stress the importance of investigating cross-regional differences in partnership and fertility trajectories by looking at the interrelation and complexity of status combinations. Summarizing the ensuing heterogeneity through four clusters, we document significant differences by macro-regions yet relative stability across cohorts. We interpret the latter as suggestive of cultural specificities that make the TTA resistant to change and slow to converge across regions, if converging at all.
  • Publication
    Harnessing the Potential of Google Searches for Understanding Dynamics of Intimate Partner Violence Before and After COVID-19 Outbreak
    (2022-03-30) Köksal, Selin; Pesando, Luca Maria; Rotondi, Valentina; Şanlıtürk, Ebru
    Most social phenomena are inherently complex and hard to measure, often due to under-reporting, stigma, social desirability bias, and rapidly changing external circumstances. This is for instance the case of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), a highly-prevalent social phenomenon which has drastically risen in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This paper explores whether big data — an increasingly common tool to track, nowcast, and forecast social phenomena in close-to-real time — might help track and understand IPV dynamics. We leverage online data from Google Trends to explore whether online searches might help reach “hard-to-reach” populations such as victims of IPV using Italy as a case-study. We ask the following questions: Can digital traces help predict instances of IPV — both potential threat and actual violent cases — in Italy? Is their predictive power weaker or stronger in the aftermath of crises such as COVID-19? Our results suggest that online searches using selected keywords measuring different facets of IPV are a powerful tool to track potential threats of IPV before and during global-level crises such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, with stronger predictive power post outbreaks. Conversely, online searches help predict actual violence only in post-outbreak scenarios. Our findings, validated by a Facebook survey, also highlight the important role that socioeconomic status (SES) plays in shaping online search behavior, thus shedding new light on the role played by third-level digital divides in determining the forecasting power of digital traces. More specifically, they suggest that forecasting might be more reliable among high-SES population strata.
  • Publication
    Family Change and Variation Through the Lens of Family Configurations in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
    (2021-09-27) Castro Torres, Andrés Felipe; Pesando, Luca Maria; Kohler, Hans-Peter; Furstenberg, Frank F.
    Using 254 Demographic and Health Surveys from 75 low- and middle-income countries, this study shows how the joint examination of family characteristics across rural and urban areas provides new insights for understanding global family change. We operationalize this approach by building family configurations: a set of interrelated features that describe different patterns of family formation and structure. These features include partnership (marriage/unions) regimes and their stability, gender relations, household composition, and reproduction. Factorial and clustering techniques allow us to summarize these family features into three factorial axes and six discrete family configurations. We provide an in-depth description of these configurations, their spatial distribution, and their changes over time. Global family change is uneven because it emerges from complex interplays between the relative steadiness of longstanding arrangements for forming families and organizing gender relations, and the rapidly changing dynamics observed in the realms of fertility, contraception, and timing of family formation.
  • Publication
    The Selective Impact of Changes in Age-at-Marriage Laws on Early Marriage: Policy Challenges and Implications for Women’s Higher-Education Attendance
    (2020-07-27) Batyra, Ewa; Pesando, Luca Maria
    This study explores the extent to which changes in age-at-marriage laws are effective in curbing early marriage and, if so, whether delays in age at marriage brought about by legal changes increase women’s likelihood to participate in higher education. To answer these questions, we combine individual-level data from Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) and Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) with longitudinal information on policy changes from the PROSPERED project for six low- and middle-income countries from three broad regions: Benin and Mauritania (Sub-Sharan Africa), Tajikistan and Kazakhstan (Central Asia), and Nepal and Bhutan (South Asia). We adopted regression discontinuity design to obtain estimates of the causal effect of changes in age-at-marriage laws on early marriage and educational outcomes. Our results suggest that these laws work only selectively – specifically, significant reductions in early marriage following the law implementation are observed only in two out of the six countries – yet when they work, their impact on early marriage has important implications for women’s higher-education attendance. In Tajikistan and Nepal, an increase in the legal age at marriage by one or two years, respectively, leads to a 20-60 percentage-point higher likelihood of attending some form of higher education. In light of the significant human capital gains documented in countries where laws proved to have an impact, we conclude by arguing that, in order for changes in laws to be effective, better laws must be accompanied by better enforcement and monitoring to delay marriage and protect the rights of women and girls. Adequate policy implementation and enforcement are necessary preconditions for actual change and should be the subject of greater international attention and investments.
  • Publication
    Parental Educational Similarity and Infant Health in Chile: Evidence from Administrative Records, 1990-2015
    (2021-09-01) Abufhele, Alejandra; Castro Torres, Andrés Felipe; Pesando, Luca Maria
    This study expands existing scholarship on the relationship between parental educational similarity and children’s birth outcomes using rich administrative data from Chile covering births that occurred between 1990 and 2015. We assess the applicability of the homogamy-benefit hypothesis – whereby parental educational similarity (educational homogamy) is beneficial for children’s outcomes – by testing the relationship between parental educational homogamy and two measures of infant health, namely low birth weight (LBW) and preterm birth (PB). We show that parental educational homogamy is associated with a reduced probability of low birth weight and preterm birth – particularly at the high end of the educational distribution – and the observed association is only partly driven by selection into homogamous couples, as demonstrated by additional analyses using a subsample of matched siblings from same mothers but different fathers. We further show that couples where women outrank men in educational attainment (educational hypogamy) do not exhibit positive birth outcomes relative to their homogamous counterparts, yet couples where men outrank women (educational hypergamy) do, suggesting that the homogamy- benefit hypothesis does hold, at least with respect to hypogamy. A municipality-level analysis merging external information on female labor force and gender gap in earnings prior to children’s birth reveals that the association between hypogamy and children’s outcomes becomes increasingly negative as female labor force participation increases (what we label the “double burden” of hypogamy), while it varies little by the earnings gap ratio – consistent with the idea that stringent social norms on the role of women in society underlie the association. Insights from this study contribute to a better understanding of the inequality debate surrounding the intergenerational transmission of advantage and disadvantage – a topical issue in a country that has recently joined the rank of the world’s wealthiest nations yet maintains extreme levels of inequality.
  • Publication
    Union Formation, Within-Couple Dynamics, and Child Well-Being in Global Comparative Perspective
    (2022-02-15) Batyra, Ewa; Pesando, Luca Maria; Castro, Andrés F.; Furstenberg, Frank F.; Kohler, Hans-Peter
    Studies on global changes in families have greatly increased over the past decade, adopting both a country-specific and, more recently, a cross-national comparative perspective. While most studies are focused on the drivers of global changes in families, little comparative research has explored the implications of family processes for the health and well-being of children. This study aims to fill this gap and launch a new research agenda exploring the intergenerational implications of union-formation and within-couple dynamics for children’s health and well-being across low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), both globally, regionally, and by the stage of fertility transition. We do so by adopting a multi-axis conceptualization of children’s outcomes – health at birth, health in later life, and schooling – and leveraging Demographic and Health Survey and World Bank data across 75 LMICs. Our results show that in settings where partnerships are characterized by more equal status between spouses – i.e., where the age range between spouses and differences in years of schooling between partners are narrower – their offspring fare better on several outcomes. These associations are particularly strong in mid- and high-fertility settings. Despite a series of regularities, our results also highlight a set of findings whereby, at a macro-level, the prevalence of marriage and divorce/separation are not invariably associated with children’s outcomes, especially in LMICs where fertility is comparatively lower. We document little cross-regional heterogeneity, primarily highlighting the centrality of demographic factors such as age vis-à-vis, for instance, region-specific characteristics that are more tied to the social fabric of specific societies.
  • Publication
    “Reverse Policies?” Reducing the Legal Minimum Age at Marriage Increases Child Marriage Among the Poorest in Mali
    (2022-04-22) Batyra, Ewa; Pesando, Luca Maria
    Child marriage is associated with adverse outcomes related to women’s wellbeing. To curb child marriage, many countries introduced laws that ban child marriage, and a growing number of studies evaluated their impact. Scant research focused on instances where countries lowered the legal minimum age at marriage, even though such “reverse policies” could result in stalled progress in eradicating child marriage, thus threatening the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Using visualization techniques, regression analysis and a series of robustness checks, we document changes in the prevalence of child marriage in Mali where, with the introduction of the Family Code in 2011, the minimum age at marriage of 18 was lowered to 16 years. Following 2011, the prevalence of child marriage has been progressively increasing among women with no education or living in communities characterized by low local development: while child marriage prevalence was 59% for the last cohort of women who were subject to the minimum age at marriage of 18, it increased to 79% among the youngest cohort of women who were legally allowed to marry at age 16. Repealing existing provisions that aim to protect girls can have adverse consequences on the most vulnerable strata of society and can contribute to increasing socioeconomic inequalities in child marriage even further.
  • Publication
    Safer if Connected? Mobile Technology and Intimate Partner Violence
    (2021-08-30) Pesando, Luca Maria
    Mobile phones are an invaluable economic asset for low-income individuals and an important tool for strengthening social ties. Mobile phones may also help women overcome physical boundaries, especially in places where they are separated from support networks and are bound within their husbands’ social spheres. Using micro-level data on women and men from recent Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) including new information on mobile-phone ownership, this study examines whether individual ownership of mobile phones is associated with the likelihood of women experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) across ten low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Findings show that women’s ownership of mobile phones is associated with a 9-12 percent decrease in the likelihood of experiencing emotional, physical, and sexual violence over the previous 12 months, even after controlling for a host of characteristics proxying for socioeconomic status, household resources, and local development within the community. Estimates are negative in seven out of the 10 countries and results robust to the use of non-parametric matching techniques and instrumental variables built through geo-referenced ancillary sources. Exploring two potential mechanisms, I show that mobile-phone ownership is positively associated with women’s decision-making power within the household (decision-making power) and less acceptability of IPV on the part of male partners (attitudes). Findings speak to scholars and policymakers interested in how technology diffusion relates to dynamics of women’s empowerment and global development.
  • Publication
    Communication with Kin in the Wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic
    (2023-09-06) Reed, Megan N.; Li, Linda; Pesando, Luca Maria; Harris, Lauren E.; Furstenberg, Frank F.; Teitler, Julien O.
    This study investigates patterns of communication among non-coresident kin in the aftermath of a crisis – the COVID-19 pandemic – focusing on a representative sample of New York City residents from the Poverty Tracker survey. Over half of New Yorkers spoke to their non-coresident family members several times a week during the pandemic and nearly half reported that their communication with non-coresident kin increased since March 2020. Extended kin proved to be important with 27.57% of respondents reporting that they increased communication with at least one extended family member. However, the kin type that New Yorkers were most likely to report increased communication with were siblings, revealing the importance of these ties during times of crisis. Communication with kin varied by sociodemographic characteristics. Women spoke with family members outside of their household more frequently and had higher odds of reporting that their communication increased. There was little support for the oft-stated premise that disadvantaged families by race or social class display greater patterns of kin engagement. In fact, the findings point to the opposite conclusion that families with greater economic resources generally engage with both their nuclear and extended kin more frequently, illuminating patterns of inequality in access to kin resources that may extend well beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, this study sheds light on an important yet oft-neglected driver of intra- and inter-generational inequalities, namely access to kin ties as a form of social capital to be activated and leveraged when need arises.