Mary J. Lopez

Professor Mary Lopez
Professor, Economics; Affiliated Faculty, Latino/a and Latin American Studies
B.A., UC Riverside; M.A., Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Appointed In: 
Fowler 214

On sabbatical leave for the 2021-2022 academic year

Professor Lopez is a labor economist. She specializes in immigration and immigration policy, Latino entrepreneurship, and poverty.

Professor Lopez’s research on immigration explores how U.S. immigration and visa policies, source country characteristics, and gender influence the economic outcomes and decisions of immigrants and their families. Her work in the area of entrepreneurship uses original survey data collected from Los Angeles neighborhoods to examine how segregation and poverty affect the performance of Mexican immigrant-owned storefronts in Los Angeles.

Research | Teaching


Published and Forthcoming Papers

“Immigration, Sanctuary Policies, and Public Safety” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes and Thitima Puttitanun, forthcoming in International Migration Review.

“Recent Changes in Immigration Policy and U.S. Naturalization Patterns” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Review of Economics of the Household (2021)

“Do Immigrants Delay Retirement and Social Security Claiming?” with Sita Slavov, Applied Economics (2020).

Mexican Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles: Neighborhood Poverty and Segregation in the (Re-) Production of Disadvantage, with Dolores Trevizo, Palgrave Macmillan (2018)

“Interior Immigration Enforcement and the Political Participation of U.S. Citizens in Mixed-Status Households” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Demography (2017)

“The Hidden Educational Costs of Intensified Immigration Enforcement” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, Southern Economic Journal (2017)

“Neighborhood Segregation and Business Outcomes: Mexican Immigrant Entrepreneurs in Los Angeles County” with Dolores Trevizo, Sociological Perspectives (2016)

“Falling through the Cracks? Grade Retention and School Dropout among Children of Likely Unauthorized Immigrants” with Catalina Amuedo-Dorantes, American Economic Review  (2015)

“Poverty Among Hispanics in the United States” in Marie T. Mora and Alberto Davila (eds.) The Economic Status of the Hispanic Population (2013)

“Border Enforcement and Selection of Mexican Immigrants in the United States” with Fernando Lozano, Feminist Economics (2013)

“Skilled Immigrant Women in the U.S. and the Double Earnings Penalty” Feminist Economics (2012)

"Antipoverty Policy: The Role of Individualist and Structural Perspectives," with Gbenga Ajilore, William Darity, Jr., and Leslie Wallace, in the Oxford Handbook of the Economics of Poverty (2012)

"The Reality of Reality Television," with Lesley Chiou, Economics Letters (2010)

"The Labor Supply of Immigrants in the United States: The Role of Changing Source Country Characteristics," with Fernando Lozano, American Economic Review (2009)

"Incorporating Service Learning Into the Economics Curriculum," Review of Black Political Economy (2009)

“Mexican Immigrant Entrepreneurship in Los Angeles: An Analysis of the Determinants of Entrepreneurial Outcomes,” with Dolores Trevizo in Alfonso Morales, David Torres and John Sibley Butler (eds.) An American Story: Mexican American Entrepreneurship & Wealth Creation, Purdue University Press (2009)


Courses Taught
Principles of Economics II (Econ 102)

A continuation of Economics 101 that completes the coverage of economic principles by incorporating the development of more sophisticated analytical tools. Microeconomic topics include production costs, the behavior of firms under different market structures (competition, monopoly, and oligopoly), taxation and income distribution, and input markets. Macroeconomic topics include the Keynesian model of output determination, the monetary system, and the effects of fiscal and monetary policies. Prerequisite: Economics 101.

Economics of Immigration (Econ 324)

This course examines the theoretical and empirical models developed to study the economics of immigration. The course examines the various economic issues that have dominated the debate over immigration policy in the United States and other receiving countries. These issues include the rate of economic assimilation experienced by immigrants; the impact of immigrants on the wage and employment opportunities of native-born workers; the fiscal impact of immigration; undocumented immigration; immigrant access to public programs; the source and magnitude of the economic benefits generated by immigration; and immigrant remittances. The course also examines the extent to which the economic impact of immigration persists across generations, and compares the consequences of different immigration policies pursued by some of the largest immigrant-receiving countries. Prerequisite: Economics 101.

Labor Economics (Econ 325)

The goal of Labor Economics is to enable you to use economic analysis and reasoning to understand wage and employment determination in U.S. labor markets. This course will expose you to current theoretical and empirical debates within the discipline. We will cover such topics as labor force participation, labor demand unemployment, labor mobility, wage structure, labor unions, human capital investments (education and training), internal labor markets, and labor market discrimination. Relevant public policy issues such as the minimum wage, living wage ordinances, compensating wage differentials, immigration policy, affirmative action, income inequality, and welfare programs also will be addressed in this course. Prerequisite: Economics 250.

Economics of Race and Gender (Econ 328)

An examination of the historical and contemporary economic positions of women and underrepresented groups in the United States. Primarily this course is designed as an overview of major theories, trends, and debates on the topic of race, gender, and economic inequality in the labor market. Specific topics include racial and sexual discrimination, labor market segmentation, wage differentials, labor force participation, red-lining, educational disparities, and income and wealth inequality. Relevant public policy issues such as affirmative action and welfare also will be addressed. Prerequisite: Economics 102.

ASSETS Program

ASSETS is a unique integrated first-year learning community for students interested in economic and social issues. The ASSETS program combines Econ 101 (Principles of Economics I), Econ 102 (Principles of Economics II), and two economics-related CSP courses (CSP 5: Economics by Example and CSP 5: Increasing Returns to Scale), letting students complete their two required first-year College-writing courses, as well as the year-long economics introductory sequence. ASSETS integrates theory and application through the use of analytical models, data, and public policy analysis. ASSETS will provide students with training in qualitative and quantitative reasoning that will serve to strengthen the way they think and write. This program serves as an excellent foundation for just about any major that students might pursue at Oxy. Because students participating in the ASSETS program take these courses together as part of a learning community they form strong, positive relationships with their classmates and instructors; engage more deeply with the course content; and have an academic and social support network to achieve academic success. To enhance the first-year learning experience, ASSETS is supplemented by a rich set of co-curricular activities, including advising and mentoring by the ASSETS faculty, peer mentoring by junior and senior Occidental students, and individual and group tutoring sessions. ASSETS also partners with Student Services and the Occidental Hameetman Career Center to sponsor workshops that support adjustment to College life and help prepare students for future career paths. (Program last offerred in 2019-2020)

Other coures I teach: Principles of Economics I (Econ 101), Applied Econometrics (Econ 272), MSI: Multicultural Summer Insitute