Ask Emily

Emily Oster, that is.  She has a new “advice column” in the WSJ.  You can email her questions at  Here is previous (and extensive) MR coverage of Emily Oster.


Advice columns are pretty lame (and, at one level, anti-libertarian). Let people make decisions themselves

How are advice columns an attack on liberty and freedom? So bizarre.

Of course this is Oster's umpteenth foray into economics exceptionalism, but that is another story.

I concede that my libertarian critique of advice columns is unorthodox -- after all, writers should be free to write advice columns, and readers should be free to decide whether to read such columns -- but at a deeper level, I just don't like "experts" and fear the bad effects "experts" have on freedom (it's not just bullshit advice columns, but also experts in public agencies writing up paternalistic regulations and "nudging" us in what they they think is the right direction), etc.

Some people are afraid of corporations that control billions of dollars of wealth, others are afraid of governments with a legal monopoly on violence and the power to tax. We all have our fears.

You need a Ph.D. in economics to write an advice column now? Talk about credentialing.

Credential Creep.

Tyler, you are promoting someone that claims that economics is all about optimizing. Economics is about cooperation in a world of conflict, in particular conflict originated in scarcity.

The more and more I read from Emily Oyster, the more I dislike her. Her economics exceptionalism attitude is becoming tiring. See Andrew Gelman's coverage of this.

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