Thursday, July 1, 2021

Data for the people: Emily Oster in the NY Times

The NY Times writes about Emily Oster, who has pioneered a new way for an economist to be a public intellectual, by bringing to a general audience her skills at assembling and interpreting data on a wide variety of subjects, including parenting (is it ok to drink a glass of wine while pregnant?) and the Covid pandemic (how to decide when schools should reopen?)

She Fought to Reopen Schools, Becoming a Hero and a Villain. The economist Emily Oster offers loads of data-driven advice about children and Covid-19. Many parents live by her words. Others say she’s dangerous. By Dana Goldstein

"This steady stream of counterintuitive advice has made Dr. Oster a lodestar for a certain set of parents, generally college-educated, liberal and affluent. Many had first latched onto her data-driven child-rearing books. Her popularity grew during the pandemic, as she collected case counts of Covid-19 in schools and advanced her own strongly held views on the importance of returning to in-person learning.

"Some parents said, half-seriously, “Emily Oster is my C.D.C.”

"But others — teachers, epidemiologists and labor activists — criticized her, pointing out that she was not an infectious disease expert, nor did she have any deep personal or professional experience with public education. "

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