The Family Firm –

The Family Firm: An Data-Driven Guide for Making Better Early School Year Decisions is the third book in Brown University economist Emily Oster’s ParentData series, and it couldn’t have dropped at a better time. These days, parents with young children face a series of difficult and high-stakes decisions.

Oster—who also runs a massive data collection project about COVID-19 in schools—parses studies on sleep, summer camp, and smartphones with her usual accessible flair, offering interpretations that are nuanced, but not to the point of paralysis.

Oster stresses that the science can’t be followed in a vacuum. Instead, contexts, tradeoffs and preferences are important. The right questions are just as important as collecting good data. There’s no one correct answer.