We study the non-monetary costs of terrorist attacks in France, Belgium and Germany between 2010 and 2017. Using four waves of the European Social Survey, we find that individual well-being is significantly reduced in the aftermath of a terrorist attack. We explore possible mechanisms, finding that terrorist attacks are negatively correlated with generalized trust, institutional trust, satisfaction with democracy and satisfaction with the government. Terrorist attacks are also found to be positively correlated with negative attitudes towards migrants and perceived discrimination. Contrary to expectations, the negative relationship between terrorism and well-being is less strong for Muslim immigrants. We interpret this finding as an indication that immigrants benefit more than natives from the institutional reaction following terrorist attacks.
With Emilio Colombo and Luca Stanca, Forthcoming at Social Indicators Research
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.
Despite the volume of studies leveraging big data to explore socio-demographic phenomena, we still know little about the intersection of digital information and the social problem of intimate partner violence (IPV). This is an important knowledge gap as IPV remains a pressing public-health concern worldwide, with 35% of women having experienced IPV over their lifetime and cases rising dramatically in the wake of global crises such as the current pandemic. This study addresses the question of whether online data from Google Trends and Twitter might help reach these ``hard-to-reach” populations using Italy as a case-study. We ask the following questions: Can digital traces help predict instances of IPV in Italy? Is their predictive power weaker or stronger in the aftermath of crises such as COVID-19? Preliminary results suggest that digital data using selected keywords positively predict actual calls to helplines with their predictive power being stronger in post-crises periods.
With: Selin Koksal, Luca Maria Pesando, and Asli Ebru Sanliturk
In this paper, we analyze the link between foreign aid for family planning services and a broad set of health outcomes. More specifically, we document the unequal health consequences of the so-called Mexico City Policy (MCP henceforth). This policy is implemented only when a Republican administration holds US presidency and restricts US funding for non-governmental organizations that provide information on or access to abortion abroad. Previous research has shown that MCP causes large disruptions in family planning services around the world, but its consequences for health outcomes remain largely underexplored. Using country-level data from 162 countries, we show that MCP is associated with higher maternal and neonatal mortality as well as HIV prevalence. These effects are stronger in countries more exposed to US aid shocks and weaker in countries in which girls' enrollment in school is higher. Furthermore, using individual-level data from 23 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa, we show that under MCP women have less access to contraception, HIV testing, and in-person family planning services. Our findings highlight the importance of mitigating the harmful effects of MCP by lifting or redesigning MCP.
With: Kerim Can Kavakli
While both the conventional wisdom and the Second Demographic Transition theory suggest that having children is rewarding for individuals and increases their life satisfaction and happiness, the empirical literature across different disciplines has not yet found a clear answer on neither the direction nor the magnitude of the association between childbearing and happiness. Here we explore a possible mechanism that might explain the association between parenthood and happiness: the neuro-anatomical changes occurring to parental brains when transitioning into parenthood and the role played by empathy. After birth and two years afterwards women show
reduced gray matter volumes in regions subserving social cognition and in particular the amygdala, insula, precuneus, superior
temporal and medial prefrontal areas. Also fathers experience changes in their brain, although of smaller size.
These changes also affect affective domains, such as empathy and social emotions. At the same time, the literature documents that emotional distress and the perception of other people's pain activate neural structures (including the anterior cingulate cortex, anterior insula, and the amygdala) that are also involved in the direct experience of pain. As a result, we expect to find a negative relationship between parenting and happiness mediated by an increase in the ability to feel others' pain. We test this hypothesis by leveraging the richness of the UK Biobank Dataset including the collection of genome-wide genetic data and resting and task-based fMRI of around 100000 participants aged 40--69 years old. Through the developed world, the high level of childlessness and the decrease in family size among those having children are timely and pressing policy issues. The fact that, in many although not all industrialized societies, parents report lower levels of happiness than childless adults might possibly fuel the perception that having children is not rewarding thus reducing the desire to become parents. Understanding the reasons behind the usually observed negative correlation between parenthood and happiness is, therefore, crucial.
With: Nicola Barban, Ridhi Kashyap, Carlo Reverberi, and Maria Sironi
1. "Bombs and babies. Terrorism increases fertility in Nigeria", with Michele Rocca, 2019. R&R.
3. "Harnessing the Potential of Online Searches for Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Intimate Partner Violence in Italy", 2020. With Selin Köksal, Luca M. Pesando, and Ebru Şanlıtürk. Population Center Working Papers (PSC/PARC), University of Pennsylvania No. 1-12-2021. Under revision.
4. "US foreign aid restrictions, maternal and children’s health: Evidence from the "Mexico City Policy"", 2020. With Kerim Can Kavakli. Under revision.
5. "What exactly is public in a public good game? A lab-in-the-field experiment", 2018. With Pietro Battiston, Simona Gamba, and Matteo Rizzolli. Under revision.
6. "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. Under revision.
7. "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.