My guest today is Emily Oster. Emily is a Professor of Economics at Brown University and the author of “Expecting Better”, “Crib Sheet” and “The Family Firm”. She has a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard and prior to teaching at Brown, she was on the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
This episode is all about children and families. We discuss the surprising truth about whether women can drink caffeine and alcohol during pregnancy, the difference between randomized trials and observational studies, the problems with nutrition research, and the concept of a natural experiment. We also talk about overly cautious public health messaging, how the principles of business management can apply to managing a family, the rising complexity of having a family in the modern age, the arms race of extracurricular activities, and how much parents should push their kids to do things they don’t like. We go on to discuss the difference between public, private and charter schools, why certain charter school networks have been so successful, what to feed your kids and the degree to which our adult tastes are shaped by the foods we eat as children, the overdiagnosis of ADHD and the prescription of Adderall to children. Finally, we talk about the effect of social media on children, the harmful effects of school closures during COVID, and how to raise happy kids.