The optimal composition of government expenditure among transfers, education and public goods
This paper examines the optimal allocation of tax revenue among a universal transfer payment, a pure public good and expenditure on education. Using a single-period framework, education expenditure raises the productivity of individuals via a human capital production function. The social welfare function is based on individuals’ (indirect) utilities. Education creates a substantial fiscal spillover whereby the increase in human capital gives rise to higher labour earnings and thus higher income tax revenue, thereby allowing greater government expenditure on all items than would otherwise be possible. A higher inequality of exogenous ability levels is found to increase all types of expenditure, but only the transfer increases in relative terms. Higher inequality aversion leads to an increase in transfer payments in absolute and relative terms, at the expense of the other two components. However, there is little sensitivity to inequality aversion. An increase in the elasticity of the wage with respect to basic ability leads to lower education spending.
Volume (Year): 194 (2010)
Issue (Month): 3 (June)
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