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Albelda is a labor economist whose research and teaching cover a broad range of economic policies affecting women and families. She is an expert on the economic situation of women in the United States and Massachusetts, with particular attention to single mothers and low-income families. Her work explores the uneasy tension between mothers and low-wage work as well as the interactions between low-wage work and receipt of government and employer benefits. Albelda served as research director of the Massachusetts State Senate's Taxation Committee and of the legislature's Special Commission on Tax Reform in the late 1980s. For the last three decades, Albelda has worked with several advocacy and policy organizations in Massachusetts and nationwide that promote the well being of low-income families and progressive tax reform.