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Brain child

Last week I read a New York Times article about Emily Oster, a University of Chicago economist with a controversial new book about pregnancy. Analyzing the data from available studies, she concludes in Expecting Better that much of the conventional medical wisdom is wrong: moderate wine consumption is fine after the first trimester, she advises moms-to-be. And if you can stomach coffee, go for it.

Oster's photo looked familiar. I had a hunch about a possible Yale connection. But it took my trusty correspondent and classmate, Mike Madison ’83, to come up with the data to prove it.

More important, Mike has a story about Yale, Emily Oster, and great expectations.

Oster, Mike tells me by e-mail, "is one of the real rising stars of the younger economist crowd. She is 33 years old—which is a relevant fact." Though Emily Oster went to Harvard (BA and PhD), her parents are Sharon Oster, professor and former dean at the Yale School of Management, and Yale economist Ray Fair. Mike recalls:

I took Ray Fair's Economics course (macro economics) during the spring of 1980—our freshman year. If you were in that course you may remember the same thing: we all knew that Ray and Sharon were pregnant. We learned somewhere toward the end of the term that she had given birth to a little girl. (Are you watching the years?)
On the last day of class or thereabouts, Ray Fair—a man not given to rhetorical excess or even to smiling very much—brought his baby daughter to SSS 114, where we met, and he held her up (in what would later be known as a Lion King move) for all of us to see her. And he said something like this: "I figured that since we've been talking about production functions all semester, you'd like to see the output."
Brought the house down.


Filed under Emily Oster, Sharon Oster, Ray Fair
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