Job Quality and Inequality

Social scientists, policy-makers, and the public at large are engaged in ongoing debates about economic inequality and job quality. Is the United States, and the world as a whole, becoming more unequal? Is the quality of jobs declining? What are the underlying causes of trends in inequality and job quality? What are the policy implications?

Project Leader

Professor Chris Tilly, Department of Urban Planning, UCLA

Research Personnel

Philip Moss, Ph.D. in Economics, MIT.  Moss has conducted research on the changing nature of work, discrimination in employment, and community development.

Hal Salzman, Ph.D. in Sociology, Brandeis University.  Salzman has studied technological change, skills, and the restructuring of work.

Chris Tilly, Ph.D. in Economics and Urban Studies and Planning, MIT. Tilly has done extensive research on work and community development in the United States and Mexico.


“The diagnostic imaging equipment industry: What prognosis for good jobs?” Chris Tilly with Michael Handel, William Lazonick and Mary O’Sullivan, eds., Corporate Governance and Sustainable Prosperity.  New York: Palgrave, 2002.  Also published on web at Social Science Research Network and Economics Working Papers Archive.

“Too many cooks? Tracking internal labor market dynamics in food service with case studies and quantitative data.” Julia Lane, Philip Moss, Hal Salzman, and Chris Tilly. In Eileen Appelbaum, Annette Bernhardt, and Richard Murnane, eds., Low-Wage America: How Employers Are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003.

“Labor market theories as explanations for poverty.” Chris Tilly. In Gwendolyn Mink and Alice O’Connor, eds., Poverty and Social Welfare in America: An Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004.

“Why inequality is bad for the economy: Geese, golden eggs, and traps.” Dollars & Sense and United for a Fair Economy, editors, The Wealth Inequality Reader. Cambridge, MA: Economic Affairs Bureau, 2004.

“Living wage laws in the United States: The dynamics of a growing movement.” Chris Tilly. In Maria Kousis and Charles Tilly, eds., Threats and Opportunities in Contentious Politics. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2005.

“When firms restructure: Understanding work-life outcomes.” Philip Moss, Hal Salzman, and Chris Tilly. In Ellen Kossek and Susan Lambert, eds., Work Life Integration in Organizations: New Directions for Theory and Practice. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.

“Labor market inequality, past and future: A perspective from the United States.” Chris Tilly. In Lena Gönas and Jan Carlsson, Divisions of Gender and Work. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2006.

“The economic environment of housing: Income inequality and insecurity.” Chris Tilly. In Rachel Bratt, Chester Hartman, Mary Ellen Hombs, and Michael Stone, eds., Housing: Foundation for a New Social Agenda. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2006.

“Employment conditions as social determinants of health part I: The external domain.” Supriya Lahiri, Rafael Moure-Eraso, Marian Flum, Robert Karasek, Ephraim Massawe, and Chris Tilly. New Solutions, Vol.16, No.3, 2006.

“Get a job: The limits of work-based social support in the United States.” With Heather Boushey. Annali della Fondazione di Vittorio (Rome), February 2008 (in Italian).

“Under construction: The continuing evolution of job structures in call centers.” With Philip Moss and Hal Salzman.  Industrial Relations, April 2008.

“The Gloves-Off Economy: Problems and Possibilities at the Bottom of the American Labor Market.” Annette Bernhardt, Heather Boushey, Laura Dresser, and Chris Tilly, editors. To be published as the Labor and Employment Relations Association 2008 Annual Volume by Cornell University Press.