Emily Oster is a Professor of Economics at Brown University and the author of Expecting Better, Cribsheet and The Family Firm. She holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard. Prior to being at Brown she was on the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
Oster’s academic work focuses on health economics and statistical methods. She is interested in understanding why consumers do not always make “rational” health choices — why do people not eat a fully healthy diet, or pursue all recommended preventative health behaviors? Her work also concerns methods for learning causal effects from observational data.
In her books, Oster analyzes the data behind choices in pregnancy and parenting. Expecting Better analyzes the data behind many common pregnancy rules, and aims to improve decision-making for pregnant women. Cribsheet does the same for early childhood — what does the evidence really say on breastfeeding, co-sleeping or potty training. Finally, The Family Firm takes this approach to parenting in the early school years, looking at data on school, extracurriculars, sleep and also providing a framework to make unexpected decisions and address the logistical challenges of this period of parenting.
Oster also created ParentData.org — a website and weekly newsletter on data, pregnancy, young kids, and whatever is on the mind of parents.
She lives in Providence, RI with her husband (also an economist) and two children.