Chris Tilly, studies labor markets, inequality, urban development, and public policies directed toward better jobs. He is particularly interested in understanding how combinations of institutions and markets generate unequal labor outcomes, and in how public policy and collective action can successfully be directed toward improving and equalizing such outcomes. Within this framework, Professor Tilly has examined part-time and contingent work, gender and racial disparities, job mobility, and other issues. Although most of his research has been focused on the United States, he has traveled frequently to Latin America and the Caribbean over the past 30 years, and has written about development issues and social movements in Argentina, Brazil, Cuba, Haiti, Mexico, and Central America. He has recently broadened his research agenda to include a new emphasis on jobs in Mexico, as well as undertaking comparative analyses with European colleagues.
In addition to conducting scholarly research, he served for 20 years (1986-2006) as editor of Dollars and Sense, a popular economics magazine, and frequently conducts research for advocacy groups, community organizations, and labor unions. He served on the Program Committee and later the Board of Directors of Grassroots International from 1991-2003, ending that time as the Chair of the Board. Before becoming an academic, he spent eight years doing community and labor organizing.