Mary K. Olson, Ph.D, is an Associate Professor of Economics at Tulane and currently serves as the director of the Murphy Institute’s Health Policy Program. Professor Olson’s teaching and research interests include health economics, the political economy of health policy, regulation, and the study of bureaucracy. She is an expert on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation. Her research uses conceptual and empirical tools from economics and institutional knowledge from political economy and medicine to investigate the causes and consequences of pharmaceutical regulation. She has published articles that examine new-drug approval policies, FDA enforcement strategies, FDA advisory committees, the effects of prescription drug user fees on the FDA, the effects of increased drug review speed on the safety of new medicines, the risks associated with novel and less novel drugs, and the consequences of eliminating the U.S. drug lag on drug safety. Her current research examines how firm innovation strategies were affected by the FDA’s pediatric exclusivity policy and how new clinical information in drug labels affects physician prescribing to children.
Dr. Olson has received grant awards from the National Science Foundation, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, and the Smith Richardson Foundation. She also served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee that assessed the U.S. drug safety system.
Prior to coming to Tulane, Dr. Olson was an Associate Professor of Health Policy and Administration at Yale University and an Assistant Professor of Economics at Washington University. Dr. Olson received a Ph.D. in Political Economics from Stanford University.
Dr. Olson was awarded the 2008 Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Tenured Teaching by the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute and the Newcomb Alumnae Association.