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Income taxes, subsidies to education, and investments in human capital

We study a two-sector economy with investments in human and physical capital and imperfect labor markets. Human and physical capital are heterogeneous. Workers and firms endogenously select the sector they are active in, and choose the amount of their sector-specific investments in human and physical capital. To enter the high-skill sector, workers must pay a fixed cost that we interpret as direct cost of education. Given the distribution of the agents across sectors, at equilibrium, in each sector there is underinvestment in both human and physical capital, due to non-contractibility of investments. A second source of inefficiency is related to the self-selection of the agents into the two sectors. It typically induces too many workers to invest in education. Under suitable restrictions on the parameters, the joint effect of the two distortions is that equilibria are characterized by too many people investing too little effort in the high skill sector. We also analyze the welfare properties of equilibria and study the effects of several tax-subsidy policies on the total expected surplus.

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Paper provided by Dipartimento Scienze Economiche, Universita' di Bologna in its series Working Papers with number 701.

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Date of creation: May 2010
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Handle: RePEc:bol:bodewp:701
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  1. Decreuse, Bruno, 2003. "Choosy search and the mismatch of talents," MPRA Paper 3636, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2007.
  2. Bovenberg, A.L. & Jacobs, B., 2001. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Discussion Paper 2001-82, Tilburg University, Center for Economic Research.
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  7. Angel de la Fuente, 2003. "Human capital in a global and knowledge-based economy," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 576.03, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
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  26. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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  32. Heckman, James & Layne-Farrar, Anne & Todd, Petra, 1996. "Human Capital Pricing Equations with an Application to Estimating the Effect of Schooling Quality on Earnings," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 78(4), pages 562-610, November.
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