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Are Public Subsidies to Higher Education Regressive ?

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  • William R. Johnson

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Abstract

This paper estimates the dollar amount of public higher education subsidies received by U.S. youth and examines the distribution of subsidies and the taxes which finance them across parental and student income levels. Although youths from highincome families obtain more benefit from higher education subsidies, high-income households pay sufficiently more in taxes that the net effect of the spending and associated taxation is distributionally neutral or mildly progressive. These results are robust to alternative assumptions and are consistent with Hansen and Weisbrod’s earlier celebrated findings for California, although not with the conclusions often drawn from those findings.

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File URL: http://www.virginia.edu/economics/RePEc/vir/virpap/papers/virpap365.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by University of Virginia, Department of Economics in its series Virginia Economics Online Papers with number 365.

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Length: 52 pages
Date of creation: Dec 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vir:virpap:365

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Web page: http://www.virginia.edu/economics/home.html

Related research

Keywords: : higher education; subsidy; progressivity Classification-JH23; I22;

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References

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  1. James J. Heckman & Lance Lochner & Christopher Taber, 1999. "General Equilibrium Cost Benefit Analysis of Education and Tax Policies," NBER Working Papers 6881, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Hartman, Robert W, 1972. "Equity Implications of State Tuition Policy and Student Loans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S142-S71, Part II, .
  3. Browning, Edgar K, 1987. "On the Marginal Welfare Cost of Taxation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 11-23, March.
  4. Enrico Moretti, 2002. "Estimating the Social Return to Higher Education: Evidence From Longitudinal and Repeated Cross-Sectional Data," NBER Working Papers 9108, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Murphy, Kevin M & Welch, Finis, 1990. "Empirical Age-Earnings Profiles," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(2), pages 202-29, April.
  6. Gordon C. Winston, 1995. "Capital and Capital Service Costs in 2700 US Colleges and Universities," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-33, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  7. Johnson, George E, 1984. "Subsidies for Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 303-18, July.
  8. Gordon C. Winston & Yen, I.C., 1995. "Costs, Prices, Subsidies, and Aid in U.S. Higher Education," Williams Project on the Economics of Higher Education DP-32, Department of Economics, Williams College.
  9. Pechman, Joseph A, 1972. "Note on the Intergenerational Transfer of Public Higher-Education Benefits," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 80(3), pages S256-59, Part II, .
  10. Hansen, W Lee, 1970. "Income Distribution Effects of Higher Education," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 60(2), pages 335-40, May.
  11. Peter Gottschalk & Robert Moffitt, 1994. "The Growth of Earnings Instability in the U.S. Labor Market," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 25(2), pages 217-272.
  12. Gary A. Moore, 1978. "Equity Effects of Higher Education Finance and Tuition Grants in New York State," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 13(4), pages 482-501.
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Cited by:
  1. Rainald Borck & Martin Wimbersky, 2009. "Political Economics of Higher Education Finance," CESifo Working Paper Series 2829, CESifo Group Munich.
  2. Di, Zhu Xiao & Belsky, Eric & Liu, Xiaodong, 2007. "Do homeowners achieve more household wealth in the long run?," Journal of Housing Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(3-4), pages 274-290, November.

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