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Efficient Tax Policy Ranks Education Higher than Saving

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  • Wolfram F. Richter

Abstract

Assuming a two-period model with endogenous choices of labour, education, and saving, it is shown to be second-best efficient not to distort the choice of education. In general this implies distorting the saving decision. Hence a strict order of policy priority is derived. Efficient tax policy ranks investment in human capital higher than investment in nonhuman capital. The result assumes an isoelastic earnings function and holds else for arbitrary utility functions. Isoelasticity of earnings is justified with reference to the empirically well-founded power law of learning.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfram F. Richter, 2007. "Efficient Tax Policy Ranks Education Higher than Saving," CESifo Working Paper Series 2106, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2106
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Bas Jacobs & A. Bovenberg, 2010. "Human capital and optimal positive taxation of capital income," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 17(5), pages 451-478, October.
    2. Lans Bovenberg, A. & Jacobs, Bas, 2005. "Redistribution and education subsidies are Siamese twins," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(11-12), pages 2005-2035, December.
    3. Wolfram F. Richter, 2006. "Taxing Human Capital Efficiently: The Double Dividend of Taxing Non-qualified Labour more Heavily than Qualified Labour," CESifo Working Paper Series 1832, CESifo Group Munich.
    4. Trostel, Philip A, 2002. "Should Education Be Publicly Provided?," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 54(4), pages 373-391, October.
    5. Judd, Kenneth L., 1985. "Redistributive taxation in a simple perfect foresight model," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 59-83, October.
    6. Trostel, Philip A, 1993. "The Effect of Taxation on Human Capital," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 101(2), pages 327-350, April.
    7. Carneiro, Pedro & Heckman, James J., 2003. "Human Capital Policy," IZA Discussion Papers 821, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. Jones, Larry E. & Manuelli, Rodolfo E. & Rossi, Peter E., 1997. "On the Optimal Taxation of Capital Income," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 93-117, March.
    9. R. G. Lipsey & Kelvin Lancaster, 1956. "The General Theory of Second Best," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(1), pages 11-32.
    10. Chamley, Christophe, 1986. "Optimal Taxation of Capital Income in General Equilibrium with Infinite Lives," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 54(3), pages 607-622, May.
    11. Andrew Atkeson & V. V. Chari & Patrick J. Kehoe, 1999. "Taxing capital income: a bad idea," Quarterly Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, issue Sum, pages 3-17.
    12. Nielsen, Soren Bo & Sorensen, Peter Birch, 1997. "On the optimality of the Nordic system of dual income taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(3), pages 311-329, February.
    13. Bas Jacobs & A. Lans Bovenberg, 2005. "Human Capital and Optimal Positive Taxation of Capital Income," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-035/3, Tinbergen Institute.
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    Cited by:

    1. Richter, Wolfram F., 2009. "Taxing education in Ramsey's tradition," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1254-1260, December.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    endogenous choice of education; labour; and saving; efficient taxation of human and nonhuman capital investment; power law of learning;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity

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