CV and General Information
Sara Fisher Ellison is currently Senior Lecturer in the MIT Economics Department, and has previously been the Richard B. Fisher member at the Institute for Advanced Study (2003-2004), the Arch Shaw National Fellow at the Hoover Institution (1999-2000), and a Research Economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research (1992-1994). Her recent research has investigated a number of questions in industrial organization, with a focus on the pharmaceutical industry and ecommerce.
Her work on the pharmaceutical industry has been wide-ranging, addressing issues such as the characteristics of demand for similar products, the political economy of pharmaceutical pricing, and the strategic behavior of pharmaceutical manufacturers. In work joint with Christopher Snyder, Dr. Ellison empirically investigates the origins of countervailing power using data from the pharmaceutical industry. They test collusion models and bargaining models of buyer size effects and find that, in their empirical setting, buyer size effects only emerge when buyers can credibly threaten to substitute away from a purchase.
In ecommerce, her best know research involves the study of search and obfuscation. She and her coauthor Glenn Ellison have found evidence that Internet technologies, once believed to primarily aid consumers by making price search much easier, can actually serve the interests of retailers as well, by making age-old obfuscation strategies easier and cheaper to implement. She also has work on the sugar industry as well as methodological contributions in finance and econometrics.
She is an award-winning teacher, and her courses include econometrics and industrial organization at the Ph.D. level, econometrics and applied microeconomics at the MBA level, and econometrics at the undergraduate levels. She is active in undergraduate and Ph.D. advising. She currently serves on the editorial board of three industrial organization journals, IJIO, JIE, and RIO. She also has consulting experience, providing litigation support and management guidance.
Short Video Describing Research