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Financiers versus Engineers: Should the Financial Sector Be Taxed or Subsidized?

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  • Thomas Philippon

Abstract

I study the allocation of human capital in an economy with production externalities, financial constraints, and career choices. Agents choose to become entrepreneurs, workers, or financiers. Entrepreneurship has positive externalities but requires the services of financiers. In the second best solution, the financial sector should be taxed in exactly the same way as the nonfinancial sector. When direct subsidies to investment and scientific education are not feasible, subsidizing the financial sector increases growth if externalities are driven by physical capital as in Paul M. Romer (1986), and decreases growth if externalities are driven by human capital as in Robert E. Lucas, Jr. (1988). (JEL E44, H21, H25, L26, O41)

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas Philippon, 2010. "Financiers versus Engineers: Should the Financial Sector Be Taxed or Subsidized?," American Economic Journal: Macroeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 158-182, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejmac:v:2:y:2010:i:3:p:158-82
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/mac.2.3.158
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Romer, Paul M, 1986. "Increasing Returns and Long-run Growth," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 94(5), pages 1002-1037, October.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • E44 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Money and Interest Rates - - - Financial Markets and the Macroeconomy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H25 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Business Taxes and Subsidies
    • L26 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Entrepreneurship
    • O41 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - One, Two, and Multisector Growth Models

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