Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Ph.D., MIT, Economics (2014)
  • B.A., Yale University, Economics & Mathematics (2008)


2017-18 Courses

Stanford Advisees


All Publications

  • Risk selection and heterogeneous preferences in health insurance markets with a public option JOURNAL OF HEALTH ECONOMICS Polyakova, M. 2016; 49: 153-168


    Conventional wisdom suggests that if private health insurance plans compete alongside a public option, they may endanger the latter's financial stability by cream-skimming good risks. This paper argues that two factors may contribute to the extent of cream-skimming: (i) degree of horizontal differentiation between public and private options when preferences are heterogeneous; (ii) whether contract design encourages choice of private insurance before information about risk is revealed. I explore the role of these factors empirically within the unique institutional setting of the German health insurance system. Using a fuzzy regression discontinuity design to disentangle adverse selection and moral hazard, I find no compelling support for extensive cream-skimming of public option by private insurers despite their ability to fully underwrite risk. A model of demand for private insurance supports the idea that heterogeneity in non-pecuniary preferences and long-term structure of private insurance contracts may be muting cream-skimming in this setting.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jhealeco.2016.06.012

    View details for Web of Science ID 000384869400012

    View details for PubMedID 27454199

  • Regulation of Insurance with Adverse Selection and Switching Costs: Evidence from Medicare Part D AMERICAN ECONOMIC JOURNAL-APPLIED ECONOMICS Polyakova, M. 2016; 8 (3): 165-195