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Optimal Taxation of Risky Human Capital

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  • Bas Jacobs
  • Dirk Schindler
  • Hongyan Yang

Abstract

In a model with ex-ante homogenous households, earnings risk and a general earnings function, we derive the optimal linear labor tax rate and optimal linear education subsidies. The optimal income tax trades off social insurance against incentives to work and to invest in human capital. Education subsidies are not used for social insurance, but are only targeted at off-setting the distortions of the labor tax and internalizing a fiscal externality. Both optimal education subsidies and tax rates increase if labor and education are more complementary, since education subsidies indirectly lower labor tax distortions by stimulating labor supply. Optimal education subsidies (taxes) also correct non-tax distortions arising from missing insurance markets. Education subsidies internalize a positive (negative) fiscal externality if there is underinvestment (overinvestment) in education due to risk. Education policy unambiguously allows for more social insurance if education is a risky activity. However, if education hedges against labor market risk, optimal tax rates could be lower than without education subsidies.

(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1111/j.1467-9442.2012.01707.x
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Wiley Blackwell in its journal Scandinavian Journal of Economics.

Volume (Year): 114 (2012)
Issue (Month): 3 (09)
Pages: 908-931

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Handle: RePEc:bla:scandj:v:114:y:2012:i:3:p:908-931

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Web page: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/journal/10.1111/(ISSN)1467-9442

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References

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  1. Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," Working Papers 2001-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  3. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty and optimal taxation: In defense of commodity taxes," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 291-310, February.
  4. Borys Grochulski & Tomasz Piskorski, 2007. "Risky human capital and deferred capital income taxation," Working Paper 06-13, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
  5. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1995. "Social Insurance, Incentives, and Risk Taking," NBER Working Papers 5335, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Mikhail Golosov & Narayana R. Kocherlakota & Aleh Tsyvinski, 2001. "Optimal indirect and capital taxation," Working Papers 615, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
  7. Bas Jacobs & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2005. "Human Capital and Optimal Positive Taxation of Capital Income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-035/3, Tinbergen Institute.
  8. von Weizsäcker, Robert K & Wigger, Berthold, 1998. "Risk, Resources and Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 1808, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Dan Anderberg, 2009. "Optimal Policy and the Risk-Properties of Human Capital Reconsidered," 2009 Meeting Papers 166, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  11. Costa, Carlos Eugênio da & Maestri, Lucas Jóver, 2004. "The risk-properties of human capital and the design of government policies," Economics Working Papers (Ensaios Economicos da EPGE) 554, FGV/EPGE Escola Brasileira de Economia e Finanças, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
  12. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-20, CIRANO.
  13. Hartog,Joop & Maassen van den Brink,Henriëtte (ed.), 2007. "Human Capital," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521873161, October.
  14. Bas Jacobs & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2011. "Optimal Taxation of Human Capital and the Earnings Function," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 13(6), pages 957-971, December.
  15. Feldstein, Martin S, 1972. "Distributional Equity and the Optimal Structure of Public Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 62(1), pages 32-36, March.
  16. Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Optimal Income Taxation with Endogenous Human Capital," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 7(2), pages 295-315, 05.
  17. Anderberg, Dan & Andersson, Fredrik, 2003. "Investments in human capital, wage uncertainty, and public policy," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1521-1537, August.
  18. Diamond, P. A. & Mirrlees, J. A., 1978. "A model of social insurance with variable retirement," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 295-336, December.
  19. Kaplow, Louis, 1994. "Taxation and Risk Taking: A General Equilibrium Perspective," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 47(4), pages 789-98, December.
  20. Levhari, David & Weiss, Yoram, 1974. "The Effect of Risk on the Investment in Human Capital," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(6), pages 950-63, December.
  21. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. " Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
  22. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005035 is not listed on IDEAS
  23. Hamilton, Jonathan H, 1987. "Optimal Wage and Income Taxation with Wage Uncertainty," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 28(2), pages 373-88, June.
  24. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
  25. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
  26. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-79, September.
  27. Louis Kaplow, 1995. "Taxation and Risk Taking: A General Equilibrium Perspective," NBER Working Papers 3709, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  28. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
  29. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005036 is not listed on IDEAS
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Dan Anderberg, 2009. "Optimal Policy and the Risk-Properties of Human Capital Reconsidered," 2009 Meeting Papers 166, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Bas Jacobs & Hongyan Yang, 2013. "Second-Best Income Taxation with Endogenous Human Capital and Borrowing Constraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 4155, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2011. "Education and Optimal Dynamic Taxation," IZA Discussion Papers 6056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  4. MENDOLICCHIO, Concetta & PAOLINI, Dimitri & PIETRA, Tito, 2012. "Asymmetric information and overeducation," CORE Discussion Papers 2012021, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  5. C. Mendolicchio & D. Paolini & T. Pietra, 2010. "Income taxes, subsidies to education, and investments in human capital," Working Papers 701, Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna.
  6. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2011. "Optimal Income Taxation with Uncertain Earnings: A Synthesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3654, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Sebastian Findeisen & Dominik Sachs, 2011. "Education and optimal dynamic taxation: The role of income-contingent student loans," ECON - Working Papers 040, Department of Economics - University of Zurich, revised Sep 2012.

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