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Educational Signaling, Credit Constraints and Inequality Dynamics

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We present a dynamic OLG model of educational signaling, inequality and mobility with missing credit markets. Agents are characterized by two sources of unobserved heterogeneity: ability and parental income, consistent with empirical evidence on returns to schooling. Both quantity and quality of human capital evolve endogenously. The model generates a Kuznets inverted-U pattern in skill premia similar to historical US and UK experience. In the first (resp. later) phase the skill premium rises (falls), social returns to education exceed (falls below) private returns: under-investment owing to financial imperfections dominate (are dominated by) over-investment owing to signaling distortions. There always exist Pareto-improving policy interventions reallocating education between poor and rich children. JEL Classification:

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Paper provided by Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy in its series CSEF Working Papers with number 311.

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Date of creation: 11 Apr 2012
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Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:311

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  1. Igal Hendel & Joel Shapiro & Paul Willen, 2003. "Educational Opportunity and Income Inequality," Working Papers 89, Barcelona Graduate School of Economics.
  2. Galor, Oded & Zeira, Joseph, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52, January.
  3. Mookherjee, Dilip & Napel, Stefan, 2007. "Intergenerational mobility and macroeconomic history dependence," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 49-78, November.
  4. David Card, 2000. "Estimating the Return to Schooling: Progress on Some Persistent Econometric Problems," NBER Working Papers 7769, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Freeman, Scott, 1996. "Equilibrium Income Inequality among Identical Agents," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 104(5), pages 1047-64, October.
  6. Ljungqvist, Lars, 1993. "Economic underdevelopment : The case of a missing market for human capital," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 219-239, April.
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