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Optimal Student Loans and Graduate Tax under Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection

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We characterize the set of second-best optimal "menus" of student-loan contracts in a simple economy with risky labour-market outcomes, adverse selection, moral hazard and risk aversion. The model combines student loans with an elementary optimal income-tax problem. The second-best optima provide incomplete insurance because of moral hazard; they typically involve cross-subsidies between students. Generically, optimal loan repayments cannot be decomposed as the sum of an income tax, depending only on earnings, and a loan repayment, depending only on education. Therefore, optimal loan repayments must be income-contingent, or the income tax must comprise a graduate tax. The interaction of adverse selection and moral-hazard, i.e., self-selection constraints and effort incentives, determines an equal treatment property; the expected utilities of different types of students are equalized at the interim stage, conditional on the event of academic success (i.e., graduation). But individuals are ex ante unequal because of differing probabilities of success, and ex post unequal, because the income tax trades off incentives and insurance (redistribution).

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  • Alain Trannoy & Robert Gary-Bobo, 2014. "Optimal Student Loans and Graduate Tax under Moral Hazard and Adverse Selection," AMSE Working Papers 1416, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France, revised 02 Apr 2014.
  • Handle: RePEc:aim:wpaimx:1416
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    Cited by:

    1. Lochner, Lance & Monge-Naranjo, Alexander, 2014. "Student Loans and Repayment: Theory, Evidence and Policy," Working Papers 2014-40, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 12 Nov 2014.
    2. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2016. "Education and optimal dynamic taxation: The role of income-contingent student loans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 1-21.
    3. Winfried Koeniger & Julien Prat, 2018. "Human Capital and Optimal Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 1-26, January.
    4. Higgins, Tim & Sinning, Mathias, 2013. "Modeling income dynamics for public policy design: An application to income contingent student loans," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 273-285.
    5. Meunier Guy & Ponssard Jean-Pierre, 2017. "Financing innovative green projects with asymmetric information and costly public funds," Working Papers 2017-55, Center for Research in Economics and Statistics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    student loans; graduate tax; adverse selection; moral hazard; risk aversion;

    JEL classification:

    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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