Abel Valenzuela Jr.

Professor of Chicano Studies and Urban Planning & Director of UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

Contact Information

Email    abel@irle.ucla.edu
Office  Bunche 7365
Phone  (310) 206-8224
Abel Valenzuela is Professor of Chicano Studies and Urban Planning and Director of UCLA's Institute for Research on Labor and Employment

He has authored numerous research articles, books, and reports on immigrant settlement, work, and urban poverty.  His research on day labor and immigrant labor markets have helped frame national public and policy narratives on immigrant and low-wage workers.

Los Angeles occupies a central focus of his research and teaching and guides the Institute's research directions. Abel was born and raised in Los Angeles, earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley and his M.C.P. and Ph.D from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  


He has published numerous articles and technical reports on low-wage workers, including co-editing (with Lawrence Bobo, Melvin Oliver, and Jim Johnson) Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles published by the Russell Sage Foundation in 2000, Immigration and Crime: Race, Ethnicity, and Violence (with Ramiro Martinez Jr.). He has also published in American Behavioral Scientist, Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Annual Review of Sociology, New England Journal of Public Policy, Working USA: A Journal of Labor and Society, International Journal of Comparative Sociology, and Regional Studies.


Abel lives in Venice Beach with his wife and three sons.

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Ph.D., Urban and Regional Studies, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1993. 
MC.P., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1988.
B.A., Social Science Major, University of California at Berkeley, 1986. 
Dissertation: Immigrants, Minority Workers, and Job Competition: A Comparative Analysis of New York and Los Angeles, 1970-1980.

Selected Publications

Paul Apostolidis and Abel Valenzuela Jr.  2014.  “Cosmopolitan Politics and the Migrant Day Labor Movement.”  Politics, Groups, and Identities.  Vol. 2(2):222-244.

Valenzuela Jr., A.  2014.  “Regulating Day Labor: Worker Centers and Organizing in the Informal Economy.”  In The Informal City: Settings, Strategies, Responses (Eds) Vinit Mukhija and Anastasia Loukaitou-Sidris.  Cambridge, MA:  MIT Press.  Pgs 261-276.

Bostic, R.W., A. M. Kim, and A. Valenzuela Jr. 2016.  Guest Co-editors.  Symposium: Contesting the Streets.  Cityscape: A Journal of Policy Development and Research. Volume 18, Number 1: Pgs, 3-122.

Theodore, N., D. Blaauw, C. Schenck, A. Valenzuela Jr., C. Schoeman, E. Melendez.  2015.  “Day Labor, Informality and Vulnerability in South Africa and the United States.”  International Journal of Manpower.  Vol. 36 No. 6: 1-18.

Areas of Expertise: economy, jobs low-wage workers, day labor, immigration, urban poverty, urban planning, inequality

Second-Class Status.” Working USA: The Journal of Labor and Society. 7(4):78-102.

Valenzuela, Jr. Abel. 2003. “Day-Labor Work.” Annual Review of Sociology . 29(1):307-333.

Bobo, Lawrence, James Johnson, Jr., Melvin Oliver, and Abel Valenzuela, Jr. (eds.), 2000. Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles. Russell Sage Foundation. New York, NY.


Immigration and labor markets, poverty and inequality, immigration settlement patterns.