Abby Alpert


  • Pilar Gonalons-Pons (PSC/PARC Research Associate) and Abby Alpert (PARC Research Associate) were awarded funding from the Penn LDI Small Grants Program 2022-23. Gonalons-Pons' project, "The Impact of Medicaid Policies on Long-Term Care Workers’ Economic Outcomes," will examine the role of government policy in shaping the economic conditions of this critical workforce by analyzing whether and how Medicaid long-term care policies shape care workers’ economic outcomes and job characteristics, in particular wages, access to benefits, schedule predictability, and union membership. Alpert's project, "The Effects of Prior Authorization on Medicaid Prescription Drug Access," will use a regression-discontinuity design to study the consequences of prior authorization policies on prescription drug access, as well as heterogeneous impacts across geographic areas and socio-demographic characteristics.

  • Abby Alpert (PARC Research Associate) was featured in Penn Today for new research published in The Quarterly Journal of Economics about the origins of the opioid epidemic. Alpert and co-authors examine the role of the 1996 introduction and marketing of OxyContin as a potential leading cause of the opioid crisis by leveraging cross-state variation in exposure to OxyContin's introduction due to a state policy that substantially limited the drug's early entry and marketing in select states.

  • Abby Alpert's (PARC Research Associate) new study titled "Origins of the Opioid Criris and its Enduring Impacts" is cited in a blog post on the Penn LDI website titled "The Origins of the Opioid Epidemic". 


Assistant Professor, Health Care Management, Wharton School

Ph.D., Economics, University of Maryland, 2011

Abby Alpert is an Assistant Professor of Health Care Management at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.  She is also a faculty research fellow at the National Bureau of Economic Research.  Her research interests are in health economics and public finance. Her recent work has focused on the economics of the pharmaceutical sector.  In this area of research, she has studied Medicaid reimbursement policies, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Part D, direct-to-consumer advertising, opioid abuse, and drug shortages.  Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Vox.

Prior to joining Wharton, she was an Assistant Professor of Economics and Public Policy at The Paul Merage School of Business at the University of California in Irvine, and she was an Associate Economist at the RAND Corporation.  She received her PhD in Economics from the University of Maryland and BS in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Chicago. I have nearly 15 years of experience in conducting empirically-oriented health economics research. My involvement in conducting health economics research began as undergraduate, continued as post-undergraduate research at the University of Chicago, at the RAND Corporation from 2003-2005, during my dissertation research at the University of Maryland (with guidance from committee co-chairs Mark Duggan and Judith Hellerstein), and as an Associate Economist at RAND 2011-2013, an Assistant Professor at UC Irvine 2013-2016, and as an Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania 2016-present.

My recent work has focused on the unintended consequences of interventions aimed at reducing opioid abuse. This work has been published in the American Economics Journal: Economic Policy, and Health Affairs. I have also studied Medicaid reimbursement policies, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Part D, direct-to-consumer advertising, and drug shortages. I have considerable expertise in using quasi-experimental methods and microdata to answer empirical health economics questions.

My work falls primarily under the Health Care and Long-Term Care at Older Ages research theme I look forward to helping to shape the larger research agenda within health care, and specifically pharmaceutical policies, for the aging population.


  • Knowledge@Wharton: Abby Alpert on Prescription Drug Marketing