WorldCat Identities

Oster, Emily

Works: 33 works in 165 publications in 1 language and 1,939 library holdings
Genres: Popular works 
Roles: Author
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by Emily Oster
Expecting better : why the conventional wisdom is wrong-- and what you really need to know by Emily Oster( Book )

14 editions published between 2013 and 2018 in English and held by 694 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

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 Bettering is the book for every pregnant woman who wants to enjoy a healthy and relaxed pregnancy--and the occasional glass of wine.--Publisher's description
Expecting better : how to fight the pregnancy establishment with facts by Emily Oster( Book )

4 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 159 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Challenges popular misconceptions about pregnancy to counsel women on how to navigate contradictory and extreme abstinence-style advice to promote empowerment, reduce risks, and enable practical choices
Expecting better : why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong-- and what you really need to know by Emily Oster( Recording )

13 editions published between 2013 and 2014 in English and held by 127 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Pregnancy is full of rules. Pregnant women are often treated as if they were children, given long lists of items to avoid--alcohol, caffeine, sushi--without any real explanation from their doctors about why. They hear frightening and contradictory myths from friends and pregnancy books about everything from weight gain to sleeping on your back to bed rest. Economist Emily Oster believes there is a better way. Oster shows that the information given to pregnant women is sometimes wrong and almost always oversimplified, and she debunks a host of standard recommendations on everything from drinking to fetal testing
HIV and sexual behavior change : why not Africa? by Emily Oster( Book )

11 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 31 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The response of sexual behavior to HIV in Africa is an important input to predicting the path of the epidemic and to focusing prevention efforts. Existing estimates suggest limited behavioral response, but fail to take into account possible differences across individuals. A simple model of sexual behavior choice among forward-looking individuals implies that behavioral response should be larger for those with lower non-HIV mortality risks and those who are richer. I estimate behavioral response using a new instrumental variables strategy, instrumenting for HIV prevalence with distance to the origin of the virus. I find low response on average, consistent with existing literature, but larger responses for those who face lower non-HIV mortality and for those who are richer. I also show suggestive evidence, based on a very simple calibration, that the magnitude of behavioral response in Africa is of a similar order of magnitude to that among gay men in the United States, once differences in income and life expectancy are taken into account
Does increased access increase equality? : gender and child health investments in India by Emily Oster( Book )

9 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 31 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Policymakers often argue that increasing access to health care is one crucial avenue for decreasing gender inequality in the developing world. Although this is generally true in the cross section, time series evidence does not always point to the same conclusion. This paper analyzes the relationship between access to child health investments and gender inequality in those health investments in India. A simple theory of gender-biased parental investment suggests that gender inequality may actually be non-monotonically related to access to health investments. At low levels of availability, investment in girls and boys is low but equal; as availability increases, boys get investments first, creating inequality. As availability increases further, girls also receive investments and equality is restored. I test this theory using data on the relationship between gender balance in vaccinations and the availability of "Health Camps" in India. I find support for a non-monotonic relationship. This result may shed light on the contrast between the cross-sectional and time-series evidence on gender and development, and may provide guidance for health policy in developing countries
Why the conventional pregnancy wisdom is wrong and what you really need to know by Emily Oster( Book )

1 edition published in 2013 in English and held by 26 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Meet today's woman. She is capable, opinionated, informed. On any given day, you might find her graduating from university or running a major company. But there's a good chance that at some point in her life this same amazing woman will be terrified by a cup of coffee, baffled by a tuna sandwich and exhausted from sleeping in contorted positions. Pregnancy - unquestionably one of the most profound, meaningful experiences of adulthood - reduces otherwise intelligent, successful women to patients who are treated like they themselve
Routes of infection : exports and HIV incidence in Sub-Saharan Africa by Emily Oster( Book )

9 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 26 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

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
The power of TV : cable television and women's status in India by Robert Todd Jensen( Book )

9 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 24 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Cable and satellite television have grown rapidly throughout the developing world. The availability of cable and satellite television exposes viewers to new information about the outside world, which may affect individual attitudes and behaviors. This paper explores the effect of the introduction of cable television on gender attitudes in rural India. Using a three-year individual-level panel dataset, we find that the introduction of cable television is associated with improvements in women's status. We find significant increases in reported autonomy, decreases in the reported acceptability of beating and decreases in reported son preference. We also find increases in female school enrollment and decreases in fertility (primarily via increased birth spacing). The effects are large, equivalent in some cases to about five years of education in the cross section, and move gender attitudes of individuals in rural areas much closer to those in urban areas. We argue that the results are not driven by pre-existing differential trends. These results have important policy implications, as India and other countries attempt to decrease bias against women
Hepatitis B does not explain male-biased sex ratios in China by Emily Oster( Book )

9 editions published in 2008 in English and held by 20 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Earlier work (Oster, 2005) has argued, based on existing medical literature and analysis of cross country data and vaccination programs, that parents who are carriers of hepatitis B have a higher offspring sex ratio (more boys) than non-carrier parents. Further, since a number of Asian countries, China in particular, have high hepatitis B carrier rates, Oster (2005) suggested that hepatitis B could explain a large share { approximately 50% { of Asia's \missing women". Subsequent work has questioned this conclusion. Most notably, Lin and Luoh (2008) use data from a large cohort of births in Taiwan and find only a very tiny effect of maternal hepatitis carrier status on offspring sex ratio. Although this work is quite conclusive for the case of mothers, it leaves open the possibility that paternal carrier status is driving higher sex offspring sex ratios. To test this, we collected data on the offspring gender for a cohort of 67,000 people in China who are being observed in a prospective cohort study of liver cancer; approximately 15% of these individuals are hepatitis B carriers. In this sample, we find no effect of either maternal or paternal hepatitis B carrier status on offspring sex. Carrier parents are no more likely to have male children than non-carrier parents. This finding leads us to conclude that hepatitis B cannot explain skewed sex ratios in China
Genetic adverse selection : evidence from long-term care insurance and Huntington disease by Emily Oster( Book )

8 editions published between 2009 and 2010 in English and held by 17 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Individual, personalized genetic information is increasingly available, leading to the possibility of greater adverse selection over time, particularly in individual-payer insurance markets; this selection could impact the viability of these markets. We use data on individuals at risk for Huntington disease (HD), a degenerative neurological disorder with significant effects on morbidity, to estimate adverse selection in long-term care insurance. We find strong evidence of adverse selection: individuals who carry the HD genetic mutation are up to 5 times as likely as the general population to own long-term care insurance. We use these estimates to make predictions about the future of this market as genetic information increases. We argue that even relatively limited increases in genetic information may threaten the viability of private long-term care insurance
Determinants of technology adoption : private value and peer effects in menstrual cup take-up by Emily Oster( Book )

8 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 16 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We estimate the role of benefits and peer effects in technology adoption using data from randomized distribution of menstrual cups in Nepal. Using individual randomization, we estimate causal effects of peer exposure on adoption; using differences in potential returns we estimate effects of benefits. We find both peers and value influence adoption. Using the fact that we observe both trial and usage of the product, we examine the mechanisms driving peer effects. We find that peers matters because individuals learn how to use the technology from their friends, but that they do not affect individual desire to use the cup
Menstruation and education in Nepal by Emily Oster( Book )

8 editions published in 2009 in English and held by 15 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This paper presents the results from a randomized evaluation that distributed menstrual cups (menstrual sanitary products) to adolescent girls in rural Nepal. Girls in the study were randomly allocated a menstrual cup for use during their monthly period and were followed for fifteen months to measure the effects of having modern sanitary products on schooling. While girls were 3 percentage points less likely to attend school on days of their period, we find no significant effect of being allocated a menstrual cup on school attendance. There were also no effects on test scores, self-reported measures of self-esteem or gynecological health. These results suggest that policy claims that barriers to girls' schooling and activities during menstrual periods are due to lack of modern sanitary protection may not be warranted. On the other hand, sanitary products are quickly and widely adopted by girls and are convenient in other ways, unrelated to short-term schooling gains
Optimal expectations and limited medical testing : evidence from Huntington disease by Emily Oster( Book )

6 editions published in 2011 in English and held by 12 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

We use novel data to study the decision to undergo genetic testing by individuals at risk for Huntington disease (HD), a hereditary neurological disorder that reduces healthy life expectancy to about age 50. Although genetic testing is perfectly predictive and carries little financial or time cost, less than 10 percent of at-risk individuals are tested prior to the onset of symptoms. Testing rates are higher for individuals with higher ex ante risk of carrying the genetic expansion for HD. Untested individuals express optimistic beliefs about their probability of having HD and make fertility, savings, labor supply, and other decisions as if they do not have HD, even though individuals with confirmed HD behave quite differently. We show that these facts are qualitatively consistent with a model of optimal expectations (Brunnermeier and Parker, 2005) and can be reconciled quantitatively in this model with reasonable parameter values. This model nests the neoclassical framework and, we argue, provides strong evidence rejecting the assumptions of that framework. Finally, we briefly develop policy implications -- National Bureau of Economic Research web site
Limited life expectancy, human capital and health investments : evidence from Huntington disease by Emily Oster( Book )

6 editions published in 2012 in English and held by 12 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

One of the most basic predictions of human capital theory is that life expectancy should impact human capital investment. Limited exogenous variation in life expectancy makes this difficult to test, especially in the contexts most relevant to the macroeconomic applications. We estimate the relationship between life expectancy and human capital investments using genetic variation in life expectancy driven by Huntington disease (HD), an inherited degenerative neurological disorder with large impacts on mortality. We compare investment levels for individuals who have ex ante identical risks of HD but learn (through early symptom development or genetic testing) that they do or do not carry the genetic mutation which causes the disease. We find strong qualitative support: individuals with more limited life expectancy complete less education and less job training. We estimate the elasticity of demand for college completion with respect to years of life expectancy of 0.40. This figure implies that differences in life expectancy explain about 10% of cross-country differences in college enrollment. Finally, we use smoking and cancer screening data to test the corollary that health capital is responsive to life expectancy
Do call centers promote school enrollment? : evidence from India by Emily Oster( Book )

7 editions published in 2010 in English and held by 11 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Over the last two decades in India there have been large increases in outsourced jobs and large increases in schooling rates, particularly in English. Existing evidence suggests the trends are broadly related. In this paper we explore how localized these impacts are; this has implications for understanding how quickly information about these jobs diffuses. We use panel data on school enrollment from a comprehensive school-level administrative dataset. This is merged with detailed data on Information Technology Enabled Services (ITES) center location and founding dates. Using school fixed effects, we estimate the impact of introducing a new ITES center in the vicinity of the school on enrollment. We find that introducing a new ITES center results in a 5.7% increase in number of children enrolled; these effects are extremely localized. We argue this result is not driven by pre-trends in enrollment or endogenous center placement, and is not a result of ITES-center induced changes in population or increases in income. The effect is driven entirely by English-language schools, consistent with the claim that the impacts are driven by changes in returns to schooling
Unobservable selection and coefficient stability : theory and validation by Emily Oster( Book )

5 editions published in 2013 in English and held by 9 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

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 -- National Bureau of Economic Research web site
Why is infant mortality higher in the US than in Europe? by Alice Chen( Book )

6 editions published in 2014 in English and held by 8 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

The US has a substantial - and poorly understood - infant mortality disadvantage relative to peer countries. We combine comprehensive micro-data on births and infant deaths in the US from 2000 to 2005 with comparable data from Austria and Finland to investigate this disadvantage. Differential reporting of births near the threshold of viability can explain up to 40% of the US infant mortality disadvantage. Worse conditions at birth account for 75% of the remaining gap relative to Finland, but only 30% relative to Austria. Most striking, the US has similar neonatal mortality but a substantial disadvantage in postneonatal mortality. This postneonatal mortality disadvantage is driven almost exclusively by excess inequality in the US: infants born to white, college-educated, married US mothers have similar mortality to advantaged women in Europe. Our results suggest that high mortality in less advantaged groups in the postneonatal period is an important contributor to the US infant mortality disadvantage
Diabetes and diet : behavioral response and the value of health by Emily Oster( Book )

5 editions published in 2015 in English and held by 5 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Individuals with obesity often appear reluctant to undertake dietary changes. Evaluating the reasons for this reluctance, as well as appropriate policy responses, is hampered by a lack of data on behavioral response to dietary advice. I use household scanner data to estimate food purchase response to a diagnosis of diabetes, a common complication of obesity. I infer diabetes diagnosis within the scanner data from purchases of glucose testing products. Households engage in statistically significant but small calorie reductions following diagnosis. The changes are sufficient to lose 4 to 8 pounds in the first year, but are only about 10% of what would be suggested by a doctor. The scanner data allows detailed analysis of changes by food type. In the first month after diagnosis, healthy foods increase and unhealthy foods decrease. However, only the decreases in unhealthy food persist. Changes are most pronounced on large, unhealthy, food categories. Those individuals whose pre-diagnosis diet is concentrated in one or a few foods groups show bigger subsequent calorie reductions, with these reductions occurring primarily occurring in these largest food groups. I suggest the facts may be consistent with a psychological framework in which rule-based behavior change is more successful. I compare the results to a policy of taxes or subsidies
Does disease cause vaccination? disease outbreaks and vaccination response by Emily Oster( Book )

6 editions published in 2016 in English and held by 3 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Childhood vaccinations are an important input to disease prevention, but vaccination rates have declined over the last decade due largely to parental fears about vaccine dangers. Education campaigns on the safety of vaccines seem to have little impact. Anecdotal evidence on disease outbreaks suggests that they may prompt vaccination behavior. I use newly compiled data on vaccinations and outbreaks to estimate whether vaccinations respond to disease outbreaks. I find that the pertussis vaccination rate increases among children at school entry following an outbreak in the year prior. A large outbreak in the county can decrease the share of unvaccinated children by 28% (1.2 percentage points). These responses do not reflect true changes in the future disease risk. I argue these facts may be explained by a model in which perceived risk of disease is influenced by whether a household is aware of any cases of disease. This suggests better "promotion" of outbreaks could enhance the response. I use survey data from health departments to show that states which directly coordinate outbreak responses have substantially larger vaccination increases in the wake of an outbreak, suggesting centralized management may better take advantage of this opportunity
Weighting for external validity by Isaiah Smith Andrews( )

3 editions published in 2017 in English and held by 0 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

External validity is a fundamental challenge in treatment effect estimation. Even when researchers credibly identify average treatment effects - for example through randomized experiments - the results may not extrapolate to the population of interest for a given policy question. If the population and sample differ only in the distribution of observed variables this problem has a well-known solution: reweight the sample to match the population. In many cases, however, the population and sample differ along dimensions unobserved by the researcher. We provide a tractable framework for thinking about external validity in such cases. Our approach relies on the fact that when the sample is drawn from the same support as the population of interest there exist weights which, if known, would allow us to reweight the sample to match the population. These weights are larger in a stochastic sense when the sample is more selected, and their correlation with a given variable reflects the intensity of selection along this dimension. We suggest natural benchmarks for assessing external validity, discuss implementation, and apply our results to data from several recent experiments
moreShow More Titles
fewerShow Fewer Titles
Audience Level
Audience Level
  Kids General Special  
Audience level: 0.39 (from 0.24 for Expecting ... to 0.78 for Why the co ...)

Alternative Names
Emily Oster American economist

Emily Oster Amerikaans econome

Emily Oster economista estadounidense

Emily Oster économiste américaine

Fair Oster, Emily

Oster, Emily Fair

ਏਮਿਲੀ ਓਸਟਰ

오스터, 에밀리


English (147)