Parenting Like an Economist Is a Lot Less Stressful


By Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic


As a genre, parenting books generally don’t give their readers much room to think through what’s best for them and their children — they offer plenty in the way of “how-to,” but little in the way of “whether to” or “why to.”

“By not explaining why,” writes Emily Oster in her new book, Cribsheet: A Data-Driven Guide to Better, More Relaxed Parenting, From Birth to Preschool, “we remove people’s ability to think about these choices for themselves, with their own preferences playing a role.” Oster is an economist at Brown University, and Cribsheet is her extensive analysis of what research has to say — and perhaps more importantly, what it doesn’t have to say — about the upsides and downsides of breastfeeding, potty training, and circumcision, among many other issues that come up in the first few years of a child’s life…more

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