New Release Books by Emily Oster

Emily Oster is the author of The Family Firm (2021), Cribsheet (2020), Expecting Better (2014), Routes of Infection (2007) and , Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability (2013).

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The Family Firm

release date: Aug 12, 2021
The Family Firm
THE INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From age 5 to 12, parenting decisions get more complicated and have lasting consequences. What's the right kind of school? Should they play a sport? When's the right time for a phone? Making these decisions is less about finding the specific answer and more about taking the right approach. Along with these bigger questions, Oster investigates how to navigate the complexity of day-to-day family logistics. The Family Firm is a smart and winning guide to how to think more clearly - and with less ambient stress - about the key decisions of these early years.

Cribsheet

release date: Apr 21, 2020
Cribsheet
From the author of Expecting Better and The Family Firm, an economist's guide to the early years of parenting. “Both refreshing and useful. With so many parenting theories driving us all a bit batty, this is the type of book that we need to help calm things down.” —LA Times “The book is jampacked with information, but it’s also a delightful read because Oster is such a good writer.” —NPR With Expecting Better, award-winning economist Emily Oster spotted a need in the pregnancy market for advice that gave women the information they needed to make the best decision for their own pregnancies. By digging into the data, Oster found that much of the conventional pregnancy wisdom was wrong. In Cribsheet, she now tackles an even greater challenge: decision-making in the early years of parenting. As any new parent knows, there is an abundance of often-conflicting advice hurled at you from doctors, family, friends, and strangers on the internet. From the earliest days, parents get the message that they must make certain choices around feeding, sleep, and schedule or all will be lost. There's a rule—or three—for everything. But the benefits of these choices can be overstated, and the trade-offs can be profound. How do you make your own best decision? Armed with the data, Oster finds that the conventional wisdom doesn't always hold up. She debunks myths around breastfeeding (not a panacea), sleep training (not so bad!), potty training (wait until they're ready or possibly bribe with M&Ms), language acquisition (early talkers aren't necessarily geniuses), and many other topics. She also shows parents how to think through freighted questions like if and how to go back to work, how to think about toddler discipline, and how to have a relationship and parent at the same time. Economics is the science of decision-making, and Cribsheet is a thinking parent's guide to the chaos and frequent misinformation of the early years. Emily Oster is a trained expert—and mom of two—who can empower us to make better, less fraught decisions—and stay sane in the years before preschool.

Expecting Better

release date: Jun 24, 2014
Expecting Better
“Emily Oster is the non-judgmental girlfriend holding our hand and guiding us through pregnancy and motherhood. She has done the work to get us the hard facts in a soft, understandable way.” —Amy Schumer *Fully Revised and Updated for 2021* What to Expect When You're Expecting meets Freakonomics: an award-winning economist disproves standard recommendations about pregnancy to empower women while they're expecting. From the author of Cribsheet and The Family Firm, a data-driven decision making guide to the early years of parenting Pregnancy—unquestionably one of the most pro­found, meaningful experiences of adulthood—can reduce otherwise intelligent women to, well, babies. Pregnant women are told to avoid cold cuts, sushi, alcohol, and coffee without ever being told why these are forbidden. Rules for prenatal testing are similarly unexplained. Moms-to-be desperately want a resource that empowers them to make their own right choices. When award-winning economist Emily Oster was a mom-to-be herself, she evaluated the data behind the accepted rules of pregnancy, and discovered that most are often misguided and some are just flat-out wrong. Debunking myths and explaining everything from the real effects of caffeine to the surprising dangers of gardening, Expecting Better is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy—and the occasional glass of wine.

Routes of Infection

release date: Jan 01, 2007
Routes of Infection
I generate new data on HIV incidence and prevalence in Africa based on inference from mortality rates. I use these data to relate economic activity (specifically, exports) to new HIV infections in Africa and argue there is a significant and large positive relationship between the two: a doubling of exports leads to as much as a quadrupling in new HIV infections. This relationship is consistent with a model of the epidemic in which truckers and other migrants have higher rates of risky behavior, and their numbers increase in periods with greater exports. I present evidence suggesting that the relationship between exports and HIV is causal and works, at least in part, through increased transit. The result has important policy implications, suggesting (for example) that there is significant value in prevention focused on these transit oriented groups. I apply this result to study the case of Uganda, and argue that a decline in exports in the early 1990s in that country appears to explain between 30% and 60% of the decline in HIV infections. This suggests that the success of the Ugandan anti-HIV education campaign, which encouraged changes in sexual behavior, has been overstated.

Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability

release date: Jan 01, 2013
Unobservable Selection and Coefficient Stability
A common heuristic for evaluating the problem of omitted variable bias in economics is to look at coeffcient movements after inclusion of controls. The theory under which this is informative is one in which the selection on observables is proportional to selection on unobservables, an idea which is formalized in Altonji, Elder and Taber (2005). However, this connection is rarely made explicit and the underlying assumption is rarely tested. In this paper I first show how, under proportional selection, coeffcient movements, along with movements in R-squared values, can be used to calculate a measure of omitted variable bias. I then undertake two validation exercises. First, I relate maternal behavior on child birth weight and IQ. Simple controlled regressions give misleading estimates; estimates adjusted with a proportional selection adjustment fit significantly better. Second, I match observational and randomized trial data for 29 relationships in public health. I show that on average bias-adjusted coeffcients perform much better than simple controlled coeffcients and I suggest that a simple form of this adjustment could dramatically improve inference in many public health contexts.
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