The Behavioral Economics of Health
Health care costs are skyrocketing, due to plenty of reasons, including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
In this talk, Dr. Oster discusses how to encourage people to change their health behaviors in positive ways. The talk goes through what we understand about people’s desire and ability to change their behavior in several domains (HIV and health behaviors, genetic risks, etc.). Dr. Oster will also reveal how behavioral economics can teach us about encouraging better health behaviors in these areas.
The Family Firm
How can lessons from firm decision-making help us make better decisions for our families?
How can data help us parent better? Is some data “better” than others and how would you know? Using examples drawn from pregnancy and parenting, this talk goes through the power -- and limitations -- of data for making family decisions.
Economist Emily Oster shares the next step in data driven parenting – how to use good decision-making skills to make purposeful choices for your family
In her book The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years, Brown professor of economics and mom of two EMILY OSTER offers a classic business school framework to data-driven parents to think more deliberately about the key issues of the elementary years: school, health, extracurricular activities, and more. Though her approach discusses parenting specifically, it is a framework that can be applied to any life choices, from relationships to business to sports.
Making these decisions is less about finding the specific answer and more about taking the right approach. Parents of this age are often still working in baby mode, which is to say, under stress and on the fly. That is a classic management problem, and Oster takes a page from her time as a business school professor at the University of Chicago to show us that thoughtful business process can help smooth out tough decisions. Oster’s talks are a smart and winning guide to how to think clearly--and with less ambient stress--about the key decisions in your life, whatever they are. Oster has gotten a lot of buzz, including being featured on NPR, Parade, and more. Oster is also the author of Cribsheet and Expecting Better.
Emily Oster, an Associate Professor of Economics at Brown University, has a history of rethinking conventional wisdom.
Her Harvard doctoral thesis took on famed economist Amartya Sen and his claim that 100 million women were statistically missing from the developing world. He blamed misogynist medical care and outright sex-selective abortion for the gap, but Oster pointed to data indicating that in countries where Hepetitis B infections were higher, more boys were born. Through her unorthodox analysis of medical data, she accounted for 50% of the missing girls. Three years later, she would publish another paper amending her findings, stating that, after further study, the relationship between Hepetitis B and missing women was not apparent. This concession, along with her audacity to challenge economic assumptions and her dozens of other influential papers, has earned her the respect of the global academic community.
Prior to joining University of Chicago Booth School as an Associate Professor of Economics in 2009, Oster was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Chicago and was also a Becker Fellow for the Initiative on Chicago Price Theory at the University of Chicago. She currently serves as a Faculty Research Fellow for the National Bureau of Economic Research.
She has worked on issues of gender inequality in the developing world, including the impacts of television on women’s status (“The Power of TV: Cable Television and Women's Status in India”), which was featured in Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner’s second book, SuperFreakonomics.
Oster studies health and development economics. Her current work focuses on demand for, and response to, information about medical conditions.
Oster is the author of Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong — and What You Really Need to Know.