Jody Agius Vallejo, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Sociology/American Studies & Ethnicity Co-Director of Graduate Studies, Sociology Associate Director, USC Equity Research Institute, University of Southern California, Dornsife

Jody Agius Vallejo’s research areas include immigration, immigrant integration, race/ethnicity, and inequality, poverty, and mobility. Her book, Barrios to Burbs: The Making of the Mexican American Middle Class (Stanford University Press, 2012) examines the mechanisms—such as parental legal status, access to higher education, and business ownership—that expedite social mobility and integration into the middle class for Mexican Americans. The book also examines middle-class Mexican Americans’ racial/ethnic and class identities, their connections to family and community, financial and social obligations to kin, and civic engagement.

Agius Vallejo’s next book, in progress, investigates middle-class Latino entrepreneurs and the Latino economic elite. The research examines the institutions that support the Latino economic elite and argues that the Latino elite have developed an alternative, ethnic-based economic system of ethnoracial capitalism to facilitate a pathway of marked economic integration and mobility.

With Lisa Keister, she has also published on wealth attainment. In 2019 they co-edited a special issue of Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies on Immigrants and Wealth Attainment.

Agius Vallejo’s research has been funded by The National Science Foundation, The American Association of University Women, The Lusk Center for Real Estate, the American Sociological Association and National Science Foundation Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline, the John Randolph and Dora Haynes Foundation, the UC Davis Center for Poverty Research, and the USC Office of the Provost. She has held an American fellowship from the American Association of University Women and also a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies and U.S.-Mexican Studies at the University of California, San Diego.

In 2016 she was named one of the top 50 graduate and postdoctoral scholar alumni from the University of California, Irvine. She is also the recipient of the USC Dornsife Junior Raubenheimer Award for Research, Teaching, and Service, and the USC Mellon Mentoring Award for faculty mentoring undergraduates.