Leveraging Mobile Phones to Attain Sustainable Development

Although mobile phones have diffused rapidly even in remote parts of the world with otherwise poor infrastructure, digital divides persist. This study provides large-scale evidence that the expansion of mobile phones is associated with lower gender inequalities, higher contraceptive use, and lower maternal and child mortality, with bigger payoffs among the poorest countries and disadvantaged groups. Micro-level analyses further show that the ownership of mobile phones has narrowed the information gap about reproductive and sexual health, and empowered women to make independent decisions. Boosting mobile-phone access and coverage and overcoming digital divides within and among the poorest countries has immense implications for sustainable development. Findings from this study speak to scholars and policymakers interested in the effect of technology on sustainable development goals. Read the paper here:


  1. "Leveraging Mobile Phones to Attain Sustainable Development", 2020. With Ridhi Kashyap, Luca M. Pesando, Simone Spinelli, and Francesco C. Billari. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [Selected Media Coverage: Yahoo Finance, Social News, Nature Podcast]
  2. "Demographic science aids in understanding the spread and fatality rates of COVID-19". With  Dowd, JB, Andriano, L, Brazel, DM,  Block, P, Ding, X, Liu, Y & MC Mills. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2020)[Selected Media Coverage: Il post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, Vanguardia, La Repubblica, Avvenire, Corriere della Sera, We Forum, Daily Mail, The Economist]
  3. "Mobile Phones, Digital Inequality and Fertility: Longitudinal Evidence from Malawi", 2020. With Francesco Billari and Jenny Trinitapoli.   Demographic Research 
  4. "I’d Lie for You", with Georgia Michailidou, 2018.  European Economic Review 118 (2019): 181-192.
  5. "Firm’s protection against disasters: Are investment and insurance substitutes or complements?" with Giuseppe Attanasi, Laura Concina, and Caroline Kamate. Theory and Decision (2018): 1-31
  6. "Lottery-and survey-based risk attitudes linked through a multichoice elicitation task", with Giuseppe Attanasi, Nikolaos Georgantzìs, and Daria Vigani. Theory and Decision 84.3 (2018): 341-372.
  7. "Macroeconomic conditions and well-being: do social interactions matter?" with Emilio Colombo and Luca Stanca. Applied Economics 50.28 (2018): 3029-3038.
  8. "Macroeconomic conditions and health: Inspecting the transmission mechanism", with Emilio Colombo and Luca Stanca. Economics & Human Biology 28 (2018): 29-37.
  9. "Connecting alone: Smartphone use, quality of social interactions and well-being", with Luca Stanca and Mirian Tomasuolo. Journal of Economic Psychology 63 (2017): 17-26.
  10. "The Less Extreme, the More You Leave. Radical Islam and Willingness to Migrate", with Chiara Falco, World Development, Volume 88, December 2016, Pages 122-133
  11. "The Effect of Particularism on Corruption: Theory and Empirical Evidence", with Luca Stanca, Journal of Economic Psychology, Volume 51, December 2015, Pages 219-235


Battiston, P., Gamba, S., Rotondi, V. (2019) "What does a young cheater look like? An innovative approach" in A. Bucciol and N. Montinari, "Dishonesty in Behavioral Economics", Elsevier.

Pesando, L., Rotondi, V. (2020: forthcoming) "Mobile technology and gender equality" in  Encyclopedia of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Gender Equality.

Working Papers:

  1. "Trust in science and experts during the COVID-19 outbreak in Italy", 2020.  With  Pietro Battiston and Ridhi Kashyap. Submitted
  2. "Mobile Phones and Attitudes Towards Women's Participation in Politics: Evidence from Africa", 2020. With Carlotta Varriale, Luca M. Pesando, Ridhi Kashyap, Rebecca Kirley, Colombe Ladreit, Chen Peng, Umberto Platini, and Juan Pablo Ripamonti. Submitted. This collaborative project was part of the first-year PhD course in Social Statistics held at Bocconi University within the PhD program in Public Policy and Administration (A.Y. 2018-2019).
  3. "The Internetization of International Migration", 2020. With Luca M. Pesando, Ridhi Kashyap, Manuela Stranges, and Francesco Billari.  R&R. Population & Development Review 
  4. "Lies have long legs. Cheating, public scrutiny and loyalty in teams", 2018. With Pietro Battiston, Simona Gamba, and Matteo Rizzolli, Econometica WP, WP 67. Submitted
  5. "Investment, Insurance and Weather Shocks: Evidence from a Lab Experiment in Cambodia", 2016. With Chiara Falco, Dough Kong, Valeria Spelta, DEMM Working Paper n 10, University of Milano.  R&R. Environment & Development Economics
  6. "Bombs and babies. Terrorism increases fertility in Nigeria", with Michele Rocca, 2019. Submitted
  7. "Mobile Money and School Participation: Evidence from Low Income Countries", 2017. With Francesco Billari, Dondena Working Papers, Working Paper No. 10. Submitted
  8. "What exactly is public in a public good game? A lab-in-the-field experiment", 2018. With Pietro Battiston, Simona Gamba, and Matteo Rizzolli.
  9. "Overconfidence, Misjudgment, and Market Entry: Experimental Evidence from Panama", 2019. Submitted
  10. "The Day after the Bomb: Well-being Effects of Terrorist Attacks in Europe", with Luca Stanca and Emilio Colombo, 2019.
  11. "Mobile money and the labor market: Evidence from developing countries", 2019. With Chiara De Gasperin, and Luca Stanca. DEMS WORKING PAPER SERIES. No. 403 – March 2019.
  12. "Impact of Home Gardening on Production and Diet Diversification. Evidence from a Field Experiment in Ethiopia", with Jacopo Bonan and Stefano Pareglio, 2015. WP 312, DEMS University of Milan-Bicocca.