I am a Professor in
the Department of Regional Economic and Social Development at the
University of Massachusetts Lowell. I am an economist by training
and teach courses in local and regional development, public policy,
organizational development, and research methods. As a researcher I
work primarily on the impacts of structural change in the economy
and within firms on the distribution of economic opportunity. I am
particularly interested in opportunities for different race and
gender groups, on the fate of low wage workers and low wage jobs,
and on changing skill needs and skill development strategies of
Before coming to the University of Massachusetts Lowell, I taught at Boston University, was a staff analyst for the Special Assistant to the U.S. Department of Labor, a Brookings Institution policy fellow at the U.S. Department of Labor, and a research fellow at the Institute for Research on Poverty at the University of Wisconsin. I hold a Ph.D. in Economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
I am currently working on three projects. With Chris Tilly of UML and Francoise Carre of the University of Massachusetts Boston, I am participating in a study of changes in the quality and mobility opportunities of retail jobs in the US. This work is funded by the Russell Sage Foundation.
I am writing, along with two European colleagues, a chapter in a book comparing the future of low wage work in the United States, five European countries, and Mexico. The chapter I am writing is a comparison of low wage work in food processing across the US and the five European countries. This work is funded by the Ford Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundations.I am also participating in an action and research project with a few RESD graduate students, and with Lawrence Community Works, a community development corporation and community organizing agency that represents the low income, predominantly Latino residents of Lawrence, MA. The objective of the project is to develop the political, educational, and economic capacity for participatory budgeting in the city. This project has resulted in an educational pamphlet in English and Spanish, Our Money, Our Future, Our Right to Know. This describes what a city budget is, the current city budget in Lawrence, MA, what other cities that have done to incorporate citizen participation in the budget process, and how citizens in Lawrence can become more involved. A RESD graduate student and I have written and analyzed the results from a survey of Lawrence residents on their views about city services, and what can be done to improve the quality of services in their city.
The first two research activities listed above are funded through grants from the Russell Sage Foundation and Ford Foundations Future of Work project.
“Under Construction: The Continuing Evolution of Job Structures in Call Centers,” with Harold Salzman and Chris Tilly, Industrial Relations, forthcoming
“Tracking internal labor market shifts in four industries.” with Chris Tilly and Harold Salzman, Proceedings of the Industrial Relations Research Association Annual Meeting, 2002.
“Learning about discrimination by talking to employers,” In William M. Rodgers III, ed., Handbook on the Economics of Discrimination, Cheldenham UK: Edward Elgar 2006
“When firms restructure: Understanding work-life outcomes,” with Chris Tilly and Hal Salzman. In Ellen Kossek and Susan Lambert, eds., Work Life Integration in Organizations: New Directions for Theory and Practice NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2005.
“Too Many Cooks? Tracking Internal Labor Market Dynamics in Food Service with Case Studies and Quantitative Data,” with Julia Lane, Harold Salzman, and Chris Tilly, in Eileen Appelbaum, Annette Burnhardt, and Richard Murnane, eds., Low-Wage America: How Employers Are Reshaping Opportunity in the Workplace. New York, NY: Russell Sage Foundation, 2003.
"Earnings Inequality and the Quality of Jobs," in William Lazonick and Mary O'Sullivan, eds., Corporate Governance and Sustainable Prosperity. New York: Palgrave, 2002.
Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skills, and Hiring in America, with Chris Tilly, New York: Russell Sage, 2001.
I am completing research, with Chris Tilly and Harold Salzman, through the Rockefeller and Russell Sage Foundations’ Future of Work program, on the evolution of job ladders connected to entry level jobs in four industries and the impact on work opportunities for less educated workers. This project has resulted in publication of three papers in edited books, two journal articles and one paper in process.
I was involved in the Russell Sage/Ford/Rockefeller Foundations funded Multi-City Study of Urban Inequality doing employer based research to understand the barriers to employment facing inner-minority workers. This work, co-authored with Chris Tilly, resulted in Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skill, and Hiring in America, published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2001 plus two journal articles, and six chapters in edited books.
Along with Robert Forrant and Chris Tilly, I recently co-authored Knowledge Sector Powerhouse, an analysis of key industries and jobs in the Massachusetts economy.