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Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation

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  • Dirk Krueger
  • Alexander Ludwig

Abstract

In this paper we characterize quantitatively the optimal mix of progressive income taxes and education subsidies in a model with endogenous human capital formation, borrowing constraints, income risk and incomplete financial markets. Progressive labor income taxes provide social insurance against idiosyncratic income risk and redistributes after tax income among ex-ante heterogeneous households. In addition to the standard distortions of labor supply progressive taxes also impede the incentives to acquire higher education, generating a non-trivial trade-off for the benevolent utilitarian government. The latter distortion can potentially be mitigated by an education subsidy. We find that the welfare-maximizing fiscal policy is indeed characterized by a substantially progressive labor income tax code and a positive subsidy for college education. Both the degree of tax progressivity and the education subsidy are larger than in the current U.S. status quo.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Cologne, Department of Economics in its series Working Paper Series in Economics with number 60.

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Date of creation: 27 Mar 2013
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Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0060

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Keywords: Progressive Taxation; Capital Taxation; Optimal Taxation;

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Cited by:
  1. Gianluca Violante & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir, 2005. "Education Decisions, Equilibrium Policies and Wages Dispersion," 2005 Meeting Papers 522, Society for Economic Dynamics.
  2. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Gianluca Violante, 2013. "Education policy and intergenerational transfers in equilibrium," IFS Working Papers W13/17, Institute for Fiscal Studies.

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