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Accounting for Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Persistence: The Impact of Taxation and Public Education Expenditure

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  • Holter, Hans A

    ()
    (Department of Economics)

Abstract

I document a strong negative cross-country correlation between intergenerational earnings persistence and tax progressivity, and between intergenerational earnings persistence and public expenditure on tertiary education. To explain these correlations I then develop an intergenerational life-cycle model of human capital accumulation and earnings, which features, progressive taxation, public education expenditure, and borrowing constraints among the determinants of earnings persistence. I calibrate the model to US data and use it to decompose the contributions to earnings persistence from different model elements and to quantify how earnings persistence in the US changes as I introduce tax- and eduction expenditure policies from other countries. I find that individual investments in human capital accounts for 62% of the estimated intergenerational earnings persistence in the US. Taxation, through its impact on investments in human capital, can explain 25% of the difference between the US and 10 other countries, whereas borrowing constraints have a limited impact on earnings persistence.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Uppsala University, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series with number 2011:21.

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Length: 56 pages
Date of creation: 31 Dec 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:hhs:uunewp:2011_021

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Postal: Department of Economics, Uppsala University, P. O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Phone: + 46 18 471 25 00
Fax: + 46 18 471 14 78
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Web page: http://www.nek.uu.se/
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Keywords: Intergenerational Earnings Persistence; Taxation; Public Education Expenditure;

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References

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  1. Diego Restuccia & Carlos Urrutia, 2002. "Intergenerational Persistence of Earnings: The Role of Early and College Education," Working Papers diegor-02-03, University of Toronto, Department of Economics.
  2. Steven Haider & Gary Solon, 2006. "Life-Cycle Variation in the Association between Current and Lifetime Earnings," NBER Working Papers 11943, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Lance J. Lochner & Alexander Monge-Naranjo, 2010. "The Nature of Credit Constraints and Human Capital," University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity Working Papers 20101, University of Western Ontario, CIBC Centre for Human Capital and Productivity.
  4. Yoram Ben-Porath, 1967. "The Production of Human Capital and the Life Cycle of Earnings," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 75, pages 352.
  5. Mark Huggett & Gustavo Ventura & Amir Yaron, 2010. "Sources of Lifetime Inequality," Working Papers 2011-020, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  6. Gary S. Becker & Nigel Tomes, 1994. "Human Capital and the Rise and Fall of Families," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 257-298 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  8. Piraino Patrizio, 2007. "Comparable Estimates of Intergenerational Income Mobility in Italy," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 7(2), pages 1-27, October.
  9. Felicia Ionescu, 2009. "The Federal Student Loan Program: Quantitative Implications for College Enrollment and Default Rates," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 12(1), pages 205-231, January.
  10. Han, Song & Mulligan, Casey B, 2001. "Human Capital, Heterogeneity and Estimated Degrees of Intergenerational Mobility," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 111(470), pages 207-43, April.
  11. Becker, Gary S & Tomes, Nigel, 1979. "An Equilibrium Theory of the Distribution of Income and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 87(6), pages 1153-89, December.
  12. Fernández, Raquel & Guner, Nezih & Knowles, John, 2001. "Love and Money: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis of Household Sorting and Inequality," CEPR Discussion Papers 3040, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Tauchen, George, 1986. "Finite state markov-chain approximations to univariate and vector autoregressions," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 20(2), pages 177-181.
  14. Keane, Michael P & Wolpin, Kenneth I, 2001. "The Effect of Parental Transfers and Borrowing Constraints on Educational Attainment," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 1051-1103, November.
  15. Fatih Guvenen & Burhanettin Kuruscu & Serdar Ozkan, 2013. "Taxation of human capital and wage inequality: a cross-country analysis," Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2013-20, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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Cited by:
  1. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2013. "Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation," MEA discussion paper series 13267, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
  2. Christopher Herrington, 2013. "Public Education Financing Systems, Earnings Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," 2013 Meeting Papers 1233, Society for Economic Dynamics.

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