Maria Polyakova wins Ernst-Meyer Prize

Maria Polyakova, an assistant professor of health research and policy at the Stanford School of Medicine, is this year’s recipient of the Ernst-Meyer Prize, which recognizes original research about risk and health insurance economics.

Polyakova, who wrote her thesis, “Regulation of Public Health Insurance,” while working on her Ph.D. in economics at MIT, was given the award by The Geneva Association, an international insurance economics think tank based in Switzerland.

Christophe Courbage, research director of the health and aging and insurance economics programs at the association, made the announcement Tuesday. He called Polyakova’s work “an important and insightful thesis on a set of first order – but understudied – issues in insurance: namely the regulation of privately provided social insurance.”

Courbage said the topic not only had considerable academic interest, but also was “an important public policy issue in both the United States and Europe.

“This work makes extremely useful insights about an important area of public policy that has yet to get the attention it needs: the interaction of regulation with important demand and supply-side features of private insurance markets.”

Polyakova said she was honored to receive the award and thanked her thesis committee for their “unbounded support” of her work.

“I am especially grateful to Amy Finkelstein for inspiring my interest in social insurance in general, and health insurance, in particular,” she said. “I hope to continue my work in this area."

A summary of Polyakova’s thesis will be published in the July 2015 issue of The Geneva Association’s Insurance Economics newsletter.