Professors Emily Oster and Stuart Firestein offer advice for rabbis for deciding what to do about the High Holy Days during COVID-19 – and how to live with the unavoidable uncertainty.
Professor Emily Oster is a Professor of Economics at Brown University. She holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard. Prior to being at Brown she was on the faculty at the University of Chicago Booth School.
Dr. Oster’s academic work focuses on health economics and statistical methods. She is interested in understanding why consumers do not always make “rational” health choices — why do people not eat a fully healthy diet, or pursue all recommended preventative health behaviors? Her work also concerns methods for learning causal effects from observational data. Earlier academic work included studies of HIV in Africa (the topic of a 2007 TED talk) and medieval witchcraft.
In addition to her academic work, Dr. Oster has written two books. Expecting Better analyzes the data behind many common pregnancy rules, and aims to improve decision-making for pregnant women. Cribsheet does the same for early childhood — what does the evidence really say on breastfeeding, co-sleeping or potty training.
Dr. Oster lives in Providence, RI with her husband (also an economist) and two children.