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Liquidity Constraints, Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Tuition Subsidies

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  • Nicholas Lawson

    ()
    (AMSE - Aix-Marseille School of Economics - Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS) - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - Ecole Centrale Marseille (ECM))

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    Abstract

    A large body of theoretical and empirical research focuses on two very different rationales for government subsidies to college students: positive fiscal externalities from greater human capital accumulation and a larger income tax base, and the existence of liquidity constraints among student borrowers. This paper provides a first attempt to gauge the relative importance of these two mechanisms. I use two different modelling approaches, both of which use US data on the effects of income and tuition subsidies on college enrollment to discipline the analysis: calibration of a simple structural model of human capital accumulation, and a "sufficient statistics" approach that employs behavioral elasticities within a social welfare optimality condition. The results imply optimal subsidies that are quite large, of a magnitude similar to median tuition at public universities. This finding is almost entirely driven by the fiscal externality channel, indicating that optimal tuition subsidy policy is not sensitive to the extent of liquidity constraints among students.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by HAL in its series Working Papers with number halshs-00964527.

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    Date of creation: May 2014
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    Handle: RePEc:hal:wpaper:halshs-00964527

    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00964527
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    Related research

    Keywords: college tuition subsidies; fiscal externality; liquidity constraints; sufficient statistics;

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    1. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2008. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20081, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
    2. Pedro Carneiro & James J. Heckman & Edward Vytlacil, 2010. "Evaluating Marginal Policy Changes and the Average Effect of Treatment for Individuals at the Margin," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(1), pages 377-394, 01.
    3. Bovenberg, A.L. & Jacobs, B., 2001. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Discussion Paper 2001-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
    4. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-50, April.
    5. Dynarski, Susan, 2005. "Building the Stock of College-Educated Labor," Working Paper Series rwp05-050, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
    6. Gruber, Jon & Saez, Emmanuel, 2002. "The elasticity of taxable income: evidence and implications," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 84(1), pages 1-32, April.
    7. Wolfram F. Richter & Christoph Braun, 2010. "Efficient Subsidization of Human Capital Accumulation with Overlapping Generations and Endogenous Growth," CESifo Working Paper Series 2982, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Chetty, Raj, 2008. "Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Scholarly Articles 9751256, Harvard University Department of Economics.
    9. Michael F. Lovenheim, 2011. "The Effect of Liquid Housing Wealth on College Enrollment," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 29(4), pages 741 - 771.
    10. Baily, Martin Neil, 1978. "Some aspects of optimal unemployment insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 10(3), pages 379-402, December.
    11. Matthew T. Johnson, 2010. "Borrowing Constraints, College Enrollment, and Delayed Entry," Working Papers 2011-006, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group, revised Sep 2012.
    12. Nicholas Lawson, 2013. "Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," AMSE Working Papers 1357, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 21 Nov 2013.
    13. Nicholas Lawson, 2013. "Fiscal Externalities and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Working Papers halshs-00907807, HAL.
    14. Raj Chetty, 2008. "Erratum: Moral Hazard versus Liquidity and Optimal Unemployment Insurance," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 116(6), pages 1197-1197, December.
    15. Christoph Braun, 2010. "Optimal Taxation of Education with an Initial Endowment of Human Capital," Ruhr Economic Papers 0210, Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Dortmund, Universität Duisburg-Essen.
    16. repec:dgr:uvatin:2005036 is not listed on IDEAS
    17. Bohacek, Radim & Kapicka, Marek, 2008. "Optimal human capital policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
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