Faculty & Research

Bradley Shapiro

Bradley Shapiro

Associate Professor of Marketing and True North Faculty Scholar

Bradley Shapiro studies empirical industrial organization and applied microeconomics. His expertise is in the economics of advertising and measuring advertising effectiveness. His research has largely focused on applications in the health and pharmaceutical industries, with the goal of informing both firm strategy and public policy. His research has appeared in the Journal of Political Economy, Marketing Science, Management Science, American Economic Journal: Microeconomics and Quantitative Marketing Economics.

Shapiro earned a Ph.D. in economics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Prior degrees include an M.S. in mathematics, a B.S. in mathematics, and a B.A. in economics all from Virginia Tech. Shapiro is also a certified private pilot and consults for a wine importing firm in his spare time.

At Booth, Shapiro teaches Marketing Strategy.


2020 - 2021 Course Schedule

Number Title Quarter
37000 Marketing Strategy 2021  (Spring)


REVISION: TV Advertising Effectiveness and Profitability: Generalizable Results from 288 Brands
Date Posted: Feb  10, 2021
We estimate the distribution of television advertising elasticities and the distribution of the advertising return on investment (ROI) for a large number of products in many categories. Our results reveal substantially smaller advertising elasticities compared to the results documented in the literature, as well as a sizable percentage of statistically insignificant or negative estimates. The results are robust to functional form assumptions and are not driven by insufficient statistical power or measurement error. The ROI analysis shows negative ROIs at the margin for more than 80% of brands, implying over-investment in advertising by most firms. While the overall ROI of the observed advertising schedule is only positive for one third of all brands, statistical uncertainty provides the possibility that advertising may be valuable for a larger number of brands if advertising is reduced at the margin.

REVISION: How and When to Use the Political Cycle to Identify Advertising Effects
Date Posted: Nov  23, 2020
A central challenge in estimating the causal effect of TV advertising on demand is isolating quasi-random variation in advertising. Political advertising, which topped $14 billion in expenditures in 2016, has been proposed as a plausible source of such variation and thus a candidate for an instrumental variable. We provide a critical evaluation of how and where this instrument is valid and useful across categories. We characterize the conditions under which political cycles theoretically identify the causal effect of TV advertising on demand, highlight threats to the exclusion restriction and monotonicity condition, and suggest a specification to address the most serious concerns. We test the strength of the first stage category-by-category for 274 product categories. For most categories, weak-instrument robust inference is recommended, as first-stage F-statistics are less than 10 for at least 221 of 274 product categories in our benchmark specification. The largest first-stage ...

REVISION: Valuing Brand Collaboration: Evidence From a Natural Experiment
Date Posted: Aug  17, 2020
We study complementarities between brands in the context of collaborations across museums. Over the course of our sample, one major museum with a highly recognized brand closed temporarily and sequentially collaborated with two established local museums. With individual panel data on museum memberships around these events, we measure how collaborations affect demand using an empirical framework of complementarities that are newly applied to the branding context. We observe two counter-acting demand patterns. First, customers with no history of buying membership from either museum enter the market, suggesting brand complementarities. Second, a sub-group of customers who previously purchased from either or both of the museums display decreased demand, consistent with brand dilution. Any structural approach that models the demand for collaboration with existing preferences for separate brands fails to create accurate demand predictions. The magnitude of the offsetting forces varies ...

REVISION: Promoting Wellness or Waste? Evidence from Antidepressant Advertising
Date Posted: Apr  02, 2020
It is taken as given by many policy makers that Direct-to-Consumer Advertising of prescription drugs drives inappropriate patients to treatment. Alternatively, advertising may provide useful information that causes appropriate patients to seek treatment. I study this dynamic in the context of antidepressants. Leveraging variation driven by the borders of television markets, I find that a 10% increase in antidepressant advertising leads to a 0.3% ($32 million) increase in new prescriptions followed by reductions in workplace absenteeism worth about $770 million. I find no effect of advertising on prices, generic penetration, drug switches, adverse effects, non-adherence rates or therapist visits.

REVISION: Advertising in Health Insurance Markets
Date Posted: Aug  01, 2018
The effects of television advertising in the market for health insurance are of distinct interest to both firms and regulators. Regulators are concerned about firms potentially using ads to "cream skim," or attract an advantageous risk pool, as well as the potential for firms to use misinformation to take advantage of the elderly. Firms are interested in using advertising to acquire potentially highly profitable seniors. Meanwhile, health insurance is a useful setting to study the mechanisms through which advertising could work. Using the discontinuity in advertising exposure created by the borders of television markets, this study estimates the effects of advertising on consumer choice in health insurance. Television advertising has a small effect on brand enrollments, making advertising a relatively expensive means of acquiring customers. Heterogeneous effects point to advertising being more effective in less healthy counties, which runs opposite to the concern of cream skimming. ...

REVISION: Informational Shocks, Off-Label Prescribing and the Effects of Physician Detailing
Date Posted: Jan  19, 2018
The relationship between pharmaceutical detailing and prescriptions for non FDA-approved (off-label) use has been the subject of regulatory scrutiny, with more than $12 billion in regulatory settlements for off-label promotion since 2004. Using the case of AstraZeneca's anti-psychotic drug, Seroquel, I study the extent to which off-label prescriptions are caused by detailing. Using a physician panel that connects detailing exposure to medical charts, I exploit within-physician variation to identify detailing effects. I find the effect of detailing on off-label prescriptions is small in both absolute and relative terms. Detailing on net tilts the prescribing distribution toward on-label.

REVISION: Positive Spillovers and Free Riding in Advertising of Prescription Pharmaceuticals: The Case of Antidepressants
Date Posted: Jan  12, 2018
Exploiting the discontinuity in advertising along the borders of television markets, I estimate that television advertising of prescription antidepressants exhibits significant positive spillovers on rivals' demand. I apply this identification in a demand model, where estimated parameters indicate significant and persistent spillovers driven by market expansion. Using the demand estimates to calibrate a stylized supply model, I explore the consequences of the positive spillovers on firm advertising choice. Compared with a competitive benchmark in which firms optimally free ride, simulations suggest a category-wide advertising cooperative would produce a significant increase in total advertising.

REVISION: Estimating the Cost of Strategic Entry Delay in Pharmaceuticals: The Case of Ambien CR
Date Posted: Sep  28, 2016
With the Hatch-Waxman Act of 1984, the FDA included an unchallengeable exclusivity period for newly approved drugs, independent of patents. This potentially generates an incentive for firms to strategically delay the introduction of new versions (reformulations) of drugs until just before patent expiration of the original drug. This way the reformulated drug competes mainly with newly introduced generics of the original drug. If instead, the reformulated drug was to be introduced well before the original drug’s patent expires, the reformulated drug would compete only with the original drug. While the pattern of strategic delay is well documented in the literature, its effects on consumers and firms are not. Reformulations may increase utility through improved efficacy and through fewer doses per day or a more even molecule decay rate. However, as suggested in the press and literature, it is also possible that the adoption of reformulated products is mostly the result of advertising ...