What You Should and Shouldn’t Do When You're Pregnant: Submit Your Questions for Emily Oster

If you’ve ever been pregnant, or been close to someone who is pregnant, you know how many prohibitions there are.  You can’t smoke or drink.  Shellfish are to be avoided.  In my house, conveniently (for the pregnant woman), scooping the cat litter was absolutely out of the question.  Of course, there are also a large number of things you have to do when you are pregnant or are thinking of getting pregnant, like take folic acid.

Is there any evidence to support all these pregnancy rules?  My good friend and colleague Emily Oster (whose research has been featured in SuperFreakonomics and many times on the blog), has just written the definitive book on the subject, entitled Expecting Better: Why the Conventional Pregnancy Wisdom Is Wrong-and What You Really Need to Know.  She has generously agreed to answer blog reader questions, so fire away in the comments section below and, as always, we'll post her answers in good time!

Here's the Table of Contents to get you started:

Did Soap Operas Shrink Brazil’s Families?

Between 1960 and 2000, Brazil’s fertility rate plummeted from 6.3 to 2.3. The only other country with a comparable decline during that period was China, under its rigid one-child policy. But what was behind the Brazilian fertility plunge? One major factor may have been the influence of soap operas, according to a fascinating new working […]

A Freakonomics Quorum: How to Save the African Rhino?

A reader named James Thompson recently sent in a request for help in solving a wildlife conservation problem. We decided to put the question to a set of diverse, smart people we know or tracked down, who might have particular insights to this particular problem. As such, we bring you the inaugural Freakonomics quorum, composed […]

Am I ruining economics or not?

I blogged a few weeks back about a piece in The New Republic last month that claimed I was ruining economics. At that time, there wasn’t a full version of the article online to link to, so there did not seem to be much point in saying much about the piece. Now, you can read […]

How’s This for a Coincidence?

I was on an airplane yesterday, and when I landed I saw that there were about 4 million e-mails on my Treo. This meant, I figured, that Levitt had run some kind of quiz on the blog. And indeed he had — this one, asking what his wife and LeBron James had in common. The […]

Emily Oster is a liar!

Emily Oster told me just yesterday that she didn’t start thinking about missing women until she was in graduate school. Now it is revealed in the Everit St. Weekly (see page 3) that she actually began the research at age 9. Knowing she spent more than 15 years working on the project, it is easier […]

Freakonomics in the Times Magazine: The Price of Climate Change

The November 5, 2006, Freakonomics column examines the economic implications of a random series of ungovernable events: the weather. This post contains bonus material.

An Article on Slate

Those of you who like economics detective stories — yes, it’s a pretty limited genre — might want to read this Slate article we wrote, about a sharp young Harvard economist named Emily Oster. Some of the debate in “The Fray” (Slate’s online feedback chatroom) gets into the question that’s been tossed about a lot […]