Shutting the Stable Door after the Horse Has Bolted? On Educational Risk and the Quality of Education
AbstractWe analyze whether a redistributive government should provide ex ante insurance against unfortunate outcomes or whether it should instead rely on transfers for redistributing income ex post. To this end, we develop a model of education in which individuals face educational risk and wage dispersion across two types of skills. Successful graduation and working as a skilled worker depends on individual effort in education and on public resources, but educational risk still causes (income) inequality. We show that in a second-best setting, in which learning effort is not observable, improving the quality of education by public funding of the educational sector has a significant effect and that this increases efficiency in comparison to a pure (linear) income tax with income transfers from skilled to unskilled workers. Compared to a first-best solution, providing ex ante insurance significantly gains importance relative to traditional ex post redistribution, because it simultaneously alleviates moral hazard in education. These results are strengthened when a (distortionary) skill-specific tax can be implemented.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 3436.
Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
human capital investment; endogenous risk; learning effort; optimal taxation; public education;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
- I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
- J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- da Costa, Carlos E. & Maestri, Lucas J., 2007.
"The risk properties of human capital and the design of government policies,"
European Economic Review,
Elsevier, vol. 51(3), pages 695-713, April.
- 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, Graduate School of Economics, Getulio Vargas Foundation (Brazil).
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2003.
"An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 93(3), pages 948-964, June.
- Ignacio Palacios-Huerta, 2001. "An Empirical Analysis of the Risk Properties of Human Capital Returns," Working Papers 2001-10, Brown University, Department of Economics.
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