Christopher Tilly

Christopher Tilly


Office: 3250 Public Affairs Bldg.


Phone: 310-206-7150

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Chris Tilly conducts research on bad jobs and how to make them better.  Trained as a labor economist (Ph.D, Economics and Urban Studies and Planning, MIT), he has pursued this topic from his first book, Half a Job (1996) to his most recent one, Where Bad Jobs Are Better.  In recent years he has shifted his focus to go beyond the United States and incorporate international and comparative research (especially building on fieldwork in Mexico), has begun to study informal as well as formal employment, and has looked more closely at grassroots organizing strategies.


Tilly, Chris and Georgina Rojas-García.  “Shifting tides of informal worker resistance in Mexico: A domestic work-construction contrast,” Bulletin of Latin American Research, forthcoming.

Byoung-Hoon Lee, Sarah Swider, and Chris Tilly.  “Informality in action: A relational look at informal work,” International Journal of Comparative Sociology, July 2020.

Tilly, Chris, Georgina Rojas-García, and Nik Theodore.  “Intersectional Histories, Overdetermined Fortunes: Understanding Mexican and US Domestic Worker Movements,” Political Power and Social Theory, 35: 121-45, 2019.

Carré, Françoise, and Chris Tilly. Where Bad Jobs Are Better: Retail Jobs across Countries and Companies.  Russell Sage Foundation, 2017.  William G. Bowen Award, Princeton University Industrial Relations Section, 2018.  Finalist, George R. Terry Book Award (on global management), Academy of Management, 2018.  Best Book Award, Labor and Labor Movements Section, American Sociological Association, 2019.

Warhurst, Chris, Chris Tilly, and Mary Gatta.  “A New Social Construction of Skill.”  Pp.72-91 in John Buchanan, David Finegold, Ken Mayhew and Chris Warhurst, eds., Oxford University Press Handbook of Skills and Training.  Oxford University Press, 2017.

Mosoetsa, Sarah, Joel Stillerman, and Chris Tilly. “Precarious labor, South and North: An introduction,” International Labor and Working Class History, 89: 5-19, 2016.

Sarmiento, Hugo, Enrique de la Garza, Enrique, José Luis Gayosso, and Chris Tilly.  “The unexpected power of informal workers in the public square: A comparison of Mexican and US organizing models.”  International Labor and Working Class History, 89: 131-52, 2016.

Evans, Peter and Chris Tilly.  “The future of work: Escaping the current dystopian trajectory and building better alternatives.” In Stephen Edgell, Heidi Gottfried, and Edward Granter, eds, Sage Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment.  Sage Publications, 2015.

Denham, Diana and Chris Tilly.  “Converging divergences in formal and informal work: Longitudinal evidence from Mexico.” Global Labour Journal (Montréal) 6(1): 41-61, January 2015.

Tilly, Chris and Marie Kennedy.  “Latin America’s ‘third left’ meets the US workplace: A promising direction for worker protection?” University of California Irvine Law Review 4:539-60 (lead article), 2014.

Tilly, Chris.  “Beyond ‘contratos de protección’: Strong and weak unionism in Mexican retail enterprises.”  Latin American Research Review 49(3): 176-198, 2014.  2015 Social Sciences Essay Award, Mexico Section of the Latin American Studies Association.

Warhurst, Chris. Françoise Carré, Patricia Findlay, and Chris Tilly, eds.  Are Bad Jobs Inevitable? London: Macmillan Palgrave, 2012.

Bernhardt, Annette, Heather Boushey, Laura Dresser, and Chris Tilly, eds.  The Gloves-Off Economy: Labor Standards at the Bottom of the American Labor Market. Cornell University Press (Labor and Employment Relations Association Annual Volume), 2008.

Moss, Philip and Chris Tilly.  Stories Employers Tell: Race, Skills, and Hiring in America.  Russell Sage Foundation, 2001.  Named a Notable Book by the Princeton University Industrial Relations Section.

Tilly, Chris and Charles Tilly.  Work Under Capitalism.  Westview Press, 1998.  Published in Korean translation by Hanul Press, 2006.  Ch.4, “An analytical frame,” reprinted in abridged form in The Changing Nature of Work (Frontier Issues in Economic Thought series, Medford, MA: Global Development and Environment Institute 1998).  Chapter 10, “Inequality at Work,” reprinted in Carolyn C. Perrucci and Robert Perrucci, eds., The Transformation of Work in the New Economy (Roxbury Publishing Company, 2006)

Albelda, Randy and Chris Tilly. Glass Ceilings and Bottomless Pits: Women’s Work, Women’s Poverty.   South End Press, 1997.

Tilly, Chris.  Half a Job: Bad and Good Part‑Time Jobs in a Changing Labor Market.  Temple University Press, 1996.