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Intergenerational Transfer of Human Capital and Optimal Education Policy

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  • Cremer, Helmuth
  • Pestieau, Pierre

Abstract

This Paper studies the design of education policies in a setting of successive generations with heterogeneous individuals (high and low earning ability). Parents’ investment in education is motivated by warm-glow altruism and determines the probability that a child has high ability. Education policies consist of a subsidy on private educational investments and possibly of public education. We show that when an income tax is available, the subsidy on education should not depend on redistributive considerations. Instead, it is determined by two terms. First, a Pigouvian term that arises because under warm-glow altruism parents’ utility does not properly account for the impact of education on future generations. The second term captures a ‘merit good’ effect, which arises when the warm-glow term is not fully included in social welfare (possibility of laundering out). The two terms are of opposite sign and the optimal subsidy may be positive or negative. Finally, we derive conditions under which public education is welfare-improving and show that total crowding out of private expenditure (for one of the types) may be desirable.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'Économie Industrielle (IDEI), Toulouse in its series IDEI Working Papers with number 318.

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Date of creation: Nov 2004
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Publication status: Published in Journal of Public Economic Theory, vol.�8, n°4, 2006, p.�529-545.
Handle: RePEc:ide:wpaper:3002

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References

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  1. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1988. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," MPRA Paper 51644, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 01 Sep 1989.
  2. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Ladoux, Norbert, 1998. "Externalities and optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 343-364, December.
  3. De Fraja, Gianni, 1998. "The Design of Optimal Education Policies," CEPR Discussion Papers 1792, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
  5. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-58, December.
  6. Azariadis, Costas & Drazen, Allan, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-26, May.
  7. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-16, June.
  8. Bénabou, Roland, 2000. "Tax And Education Policy In A Heterogeneous Agent Economy: What Levels Of Redistribution Maximize Growth And Efficiency?," CEPR Discussion Papers 2446, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Gerhard Glomm & Michael Kaganovich, 2003. "Distributional Effects of Public Education in an Economy with Public Pensions," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 44(3), pages 917-937, 08.
  10. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-34, August.
  11. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
  12. Fernandez, Raquel & Rogerson, Richard, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-64, February.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Helmuth Cremer & ) & Pierre Pestieau, 2004. "Wealth Trasfer Taxation: A Survey," Public Economics 0401004, EconWPA.
  2. Michele Bernasconi & Paola Profeta, 2007. "Redistribution or Education? The Political Economy of the Social Race," CESifo Working Paper Series 1934, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. Sano, Koichiro & Tomoda, Yasunobu, 2010. "Optimal public education policy in a two sector model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 991-995, September.
  4. Casarico, Alessandra & Micheletto, Luca & Sommacal, Alessandro, 2011. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2011:3, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Theodore Palivos & Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2013. "Intergenerational Complementarities in Education, Endogenous Public Policy, and the Relation Between Growth and Volatility," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(2), pages 249-272, 04.
  6. Alessandra Casarico & Alessandro Sommacal, 2008. "Labor Income Taxation, Human Capital and Growth: The Role of Child Care," CESifo Working Paper Series 2363, CESifo Group Munich.
  7. Marion Davin & Karine Gente & Carine Nourry, 2012. "Social optimum in an OLG model with paternalistic altruism," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3417-3424.
  8. CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2004. "The tax treatment of intergenerational wealth transfers," CORE Discussion Papers 2004062, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  9. Nikos Benos, 2004. "Education Policies and Economic Growth," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 4-2004, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
  10. Wu, T.C. Michael & Yang, C.C., 2012. "The welfare effect of income tax deductions for losses as insurance: Insured- versus insurer-sided adverse selection," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2641-2645.
  11. Francesca Carta, 2013. "Investing in the youngest: the optimal child care policy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 180, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  12. C. Fan & Jie Zhang, 2013. "Differential fertility and intergenerational mobility under private versus public education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 26(3), pages 907-941, July.
  13. Bernasconi, Michele & Profeta, Paola, 2012. "Public education and redistribution when talents are mismatched," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 84-96.

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