Emily Oster is a professor of economics. Prior to coming to Brown she was an associate professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. She is affiliated with the National Bureau of Economic Research. She earned her BA and her PhD from Harvard, in 2002 and 2006, respectively.
Emily Oster’s research focuses on health and development economics. Her past work has covered issues of HIV and gender equality in health and survival. Her current work focuses on how individuals seek out, and react to, health information. She has several recent papers on Huntington Disease, a degenerative neurological disorder. In this context she explores health information-seeking and asks why individuals in the at-risk population seem resistant to informative genetic information about this disease. She uses a similar population to test whether knowledge of limited life expectancy affects incentives to invest in education and job training.
Oster’s current work covers infant mortality – exploring why the US has very high infant mortality rates relative to other developed countries – and diet behavior among diabetics.
"Weighting for External Validity" (with Isaiah Andrews). The National Bureau of Economic Research. (September 2017). doi: 10.3386/w23826
“Approaches and Costs for Sharing Clinical Research Data” (with Erin Wilhelm and Ira Shoulson). JAMA (Viewpoint, Feb 20, 2014).
“Limited Life Expectancy, Human Capital and Health Investments” (with E. Ray Dorsey and Ira Shoulson). American Economic Review, 103 (5): p. 1977-2002 (August 2013).
“Optimal Expectations and Limited Medical Testing: Evidence from Huntington's Disease” (with E. Ray Dorsey and Ira Shoulson). American Economic Review, 103 (2): p. 804-830 (April 2013).
“Do IT Service Centers Promote School Enrollment? Evidence from India” (with Bryce Millett). Journal of Development Economics, 104: 123-135 (September 2013).
“Knowledge of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act among individuals affected by Huntington disease” (with E. Ray Dorsey et al.). Clinical Genetics, 84: p. 251-257 (September 2013).
“Determinants of Technology Adoption: Private Value and Peer Effects in Menstrual Cup Take-Up” (with Rebecca Thornton). Journal of the European Economic Association, 10(6): p.1263-1293 (December, 2012).
“Routes of Infection: Exports and HIV Incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa.” Journal of the European Economic Association, 10(5): p. 1025–1058 (October 2012).
MPA 2460 Economics for Public Policy
July 23, 2018
The Mega Millions jackpot is now $493 million ahead of Tuesday's draw at 11 p.m., the fifth largest jackpot in history. A study by economist Emily Oster found that the lottery jackpot only becomes "progressive" -- meaning high earners spend more on tickets than low earners -- when the jackpot is at least $806 million.
July 12, 2018
Earlier this year, the U.S. tried to weaken a World Health Organization proposal encouraging the benefits of breastfeeding. Economist Emily Oster pointed out that it's "impossible to disentangle" the most commonly cited benefits of breastfeeding, such as higher IQ and lower obesity rates, from socioeconomic factors.
June 4, 2018
Economist Emily Oster recently published a new book on why much of the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong and what expecting mothers really need to know.
May 25, 2018
Economist Emily Oster investigated the statistics, or lack thereof, behind some general wisdom about what women should and shouldn't do during pregnancy.
January 24, 2018
Research by economist Emily Oster is mentioned in an article about monitoring children's TV consumption. "If letting your kids watch an hour of TV means you are better able to have a relaxed conversation at the dinner table, this could mean TV isn't that bad for cognitive development."
January 19, 2018
Economic Rockstar Podcast
Economist Emily Oster joined economics and finance lecturer Frank Conway on his podcast Economic Rockstar to discuss diabetes and diets, disease and vaccinations, and pregnancy myths.
January 16, 2018
The New York Times
In The New York Times' The Upshot, Emily Oster co-writes about the 2014 episode that left 159 Disneyland visitors with the measles, and the policy change that followed in California that triggered a jump in vaccination rates across the state.