In The Family Firm: A Data-Driven Guide to Better Decision Making in the Early School Years (Penguin, 2021), Brown University professor of economics and mom of two Emily Oster offers a classic business school framework for data-driven parents to think more deliberately about the key issues of the elementary years: school, health, extracurricular activities, and more. In our interview, she walks me through a “case study” exercise on the decision of whether to delay kindergarten entry, discusses what (if anything) differs between the approach in her approach and what a family therapist might recommend, and reminds us that when making family decisions, we should always be careful to ask “What are our dreams and what are our kids’ dreams?” and remember these may not be the same.
Host Peter Lorentzen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of San Francisco. His researches governance and decision-making within the Chinese Communist Party but does not recommend that parents apply any of his research findings on censorship, purges, or riots to managing their family life.
Peter Lorentzen is economics professor at the University of San Francisco. He heads USF's Applied Economics Master's program, which focuses on the digital economy. His research is mainly on China's political economy.