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Expansion of Higher Education and Time-Consistent Taxation


  • Panu Poutvaara



This paper analyzes educational choices and political support for subsidies to higher education in the presence of a time-consistency problem in income redistribution. There may be political support for so generous subsidization that it motivates the median voter to obtain higher education. As a result of increasing own income, the median voter prefers in the future lower taxes than without higher education. Therefore, the expansion of participation in higher education during the second half of the 20th century may have partly been driven by the aim to limit the political support for overly generous income redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Panu Poutvaara, 2007. "Expansion of Higher Education and Time-Consistent Taxation," CESifo Working Paper Series 2101, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2101

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Panu Poutvaara, 2003. "Educating Europe," Public Economics 0302008, EconWPA.
    2. John Hassler & José V. Rodríguez Mora & Kjetil Storesletten & Fabrizio Zilibotti, 2003. "The Survival of the Welfare State," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 93(1), pages 87-112, March.
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    7. Justman, Moshe & Thisse, Jacques-Francois, 1997. "Implications of the mobility of skilled labor for local public funding of higher education," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(3), pages 409-412, September.
    8. Oded Galor & Omer Moav, 2006. "Das Human-Kapital: A Theory of the Demise of the Class Structure," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 73(1), pages 85-117.
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    10. Boadway, Robin & Marceau, Nicolas & Marchand, Maurice, 1996. "Investment in Education and the Time Inconsistency of Redistributive Tax Policy," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 63(250), pages 171-189, May.
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    12. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    13. Andersson, Fredrik & Konrad, Kai A, 2003. "Globalization and Risky Human-Capital Investment," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 10(3), pages 211-228, May.
    14. Patrick J. Kehoe, 1989. "Policy Cooperation Among Benevolent Governments May Be Undesirable," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 56(2), pages 289-296.
    15. Johnson, George E, 1984. "Subsidies for Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 303-318, July.
    16. Konrad, Kai A, 1995. "Social Security and Strategic Inter-vivos Transfers of Social Capital," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 8(3), pages 315-326, August.
    17. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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