Mary K. Olson Associate Professor Department of Economics Tulane University

Mary K. Olson

Associate Professor
306 Tilton Memorial Hall


Mary K. Olson is an Associate Professor of Economics and Director of the Health Policy Program in the Murphy Institute. She received her BA from Northwestern University and her PhD from Stanford University.   Her research interests include health economics, pharmaceutical regulation, and innovation policy. She is an expert on Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.  She has published articles that examine new-drug approval policies, the effects of prescription-drug user fees on the FDA, the effects of faster FDA drug reviews on the safety of new medicines, the consequences of eliminating the U.S. drug lag on drug safety, and the effects of FDA’s pediatric exclusivity policy.  Her current research examines how physician prescribing responds to new scientific information in drug labels, how the adoption of electronic medical records affects hospital performance, and how reduced cost sharing in drug insurance affects health care use and spending.

She 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.

Dr. Olson was awarded the 2008 Mortar Board Award for Excellence in Tenured Teaching by Newcomb College.


  • Pharmaceutical regulation and policy
  • Innovation and health care
  • Prescription Drugs