Professor Antecol to Lead Berger Institute

Heather Antecol, the James G. Boswell Professor of Economics & Legal Organization, will begin a three-year term as director of The Berger Institute of Work, Family, and Children at CMC, effective Dec. 3. Antecol has served as the Institute’s interim director for the past year and a half.

In her new role, Antecol says her priorities for the Institute will be increasing its visibility, fundraising, and undertaking a large-scale research project. One of the ways the Berger Institute is reaching these goals is by hosting four Living Room Conversations on issues pertaining to work and family at the homes of CMC alumni this academic year.

These events, Antecol says, will be used to inform CMC alumni about the Institute’s mission and current research agenda, as well as to create a network of friends and to raise funds to support future programming.

Another priority, she says, will be the development of the Berger Institute Work-Family Research Network an online resource for those interested in research that is related to work and family. The network is designed to disseminate research to academics and researchers, to inform public policy makers and workplace practitioners, and to encourage collaborations among researchers in the network.

As for a large-scale research project, Antecol says one possibility is collaborating with researchers from the research network on a study of work and family decisions among graduates of liberal arts colleges with a particular focus on the decision to opt-out of the labor market.

This research follows from Antecol’s current project, “Is there an opt-out revolution? A descriptive analysis.” Specifically, Antecol compiles data from the 1980, 1990, and 2000 U.S. Census to examine married women’s labor supply decisions by the presence of children.

Antecol says preliminary results reveal that married women with young children adjust their labor supply on both the extensive margin (probability of working positive annual hours) and the intensive margin (annual hours of work conditional on working) relative to their childless counterparts. Moreover, the percent of married women with young children exiting the labor market (relative to married women without children) is generally constant across the educational distribution and has declined over time. These results suggest that there does not appear to be an opt-out revolution.

“My vision for the Berger Institute in the long term is to be the leading national resource for issues on work, family, and children,” Antecol says. “Particularly issues relating to an individual’s decision to opt-out of the labor market.”

Hannah Gregg ’12