Sean Nicholson
Professor, and Director of the Sloan program
Policy Analysis and Management
Cornell Institute for Public Affairs

3301c, Martha Van Rensselaer Hall



Sean is a professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management (PAM) at Cornell University, the Director of the Sloan Program in Health Administration, and a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Prior to joining the PAM Department in 2004, Sean was a faculty member in the Health Care Systems Department at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Sean worked for four years as a management consultant with APM and taught high school for two years before enrolling in graduate school. He received a B.A. from Dartmouth College in 1986 and a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1997.

Sean is currently conducting research in three areas: the causes of regional variations in medical spending; the value of new medical technologies; and innovation in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Song, Minjae, Sean Nicholson, and Claudio Lucarelli, 2017, “Mergers with Inter-Firm Bundling: a Case of Pharmaceutical Cocktails,” RAND Journal of Economics 48(3): 810-834.

Epstein, Andrew J., Sean Nicholson, David A. Asch, 2016, “The Production of and Market for New Physicians’ Skill,” American Journal of Health Economics 2(1): 41-66.

Lakdawalla, Darius, Jason Shafrin, Claudio Lucarelli, Sean Nicholson, Zeba Khan, and Tomas Philipson, 2015, “Quality-Adjusted Cost of Care: a Meaningful Way to Measure Innovation Cost Growth Versus the Value of Health Gains,” Health Affairs 34(4): 555-561.

Asch, David A., Sean Nicholson, and Marc L. Berger, 2019, “Toward Facilitated Self-Service in Health Care,” New England Journal of Medicine 380(20) 1891-1893.

Epstein, Jordan, Sean Nicholson, Lucy Wang, Katherine Hempstead, and Sam Asin, 2020, “The Secret Menu in Health Care: A Cash Market for Imaging in California,” INQUIRY, forthcoming.

Asch, David A., Justin Grischkan, and Sean Nicholson, 2020, “Managing the Cost, Price, and Debt of Medical Education, New England Journal of Medicine, July 2, 2020.


He is currently a Research Associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research, an Associate Editor of the journal Health Economics, and a Research Fellow at VIVE, the Danish National Center for Social Research, 2012-present.

PAM 2350, The US Health Care System
PAM 5630, Health Care Financial Management II

PAM 5900, Key Management Issues in the Biotech and Pharmaceutical Industries

PhD 1997 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Economics
MS 1995 - University of Wisconsin-Madison, Economics
BA 1986 - Dartmouth College, Economics

Director of the Sloan MHA Program in Health Administration.

Faculty Committee on Program Review, chair.

FACTA, member.

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