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Financing Higher Education and Labor Mobility

  • Gabrielle Demange
  • Robert Fenge
  • Silke Uebelmesser

This paper analyzes how mobility of post-graduate skilled workers and students across different countries affects the quality level of higher education and the way education is financed. We start by examining a closed economy. In the presence of imperfect credit markets the education level with pure fee-financing is lower than the optimal level. If the credit market imperfections are not too large, a mix of tax- and fee-financing is optimal. The reason for this is that with pure fee-financing too few individuals decide to study. With mobility of skilled workers, both countries have an incentive to attract foreign skilled mobile workers as tax-payers while - at least partially - free-riding on the other country’s provision of education. Both countries thus increase the tuition fee above the optimum and change the level of education correspondingly. If countries maintain the financing mix foreign skilled workers are attracted by suboptimal levels of educational quality. Allowing also for mobile students may intensify the upward race of fees. The case of free-riding on the education provided by other countries may be strengthened. However, countries may anticipate this race and abstain from engaging in fee competition in the first place.

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Paper provided by CESifo Group Munich in its series CESifo Working Paper Series with number 2362.

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Date of creation: 2008
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2362
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  1. Poutvaara, Panu, 2004. "Educating Europe: Should Public Education be Financed with Graduate Taxes or Income-contingent Loans?," Munich Reprints in Economics 19296, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  2. Matthias Parey & Fabian Waldinger, 2007. "Studying Abroad and the Effect on International Labor Market Mobility: Evidence from the Introduction of Erasmus," CEE Discussion Papers 0086, Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE.
  3. Claudio Thum & Silke Uebelmesser, 2001. "Mobility and the Role of Education as a Commitment Device," CESifo Working Paper Series 450, CESifo Group Munich.
  4. Gale, David, 1973. "Pure exchange equilibrium of dynamic economic models," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 6(1), pages 12-36, February.
  5. Lydia Mechtenberg & Roland Strausz, . "The Bologna Process: How student mobility affects multi-cultural skills and educational quality," Papers 030, Departmental Working Papers.
  6. Kemnitz, Alexander, 2005. "Educational Federalism and the Quality Effects of Tuition Fees," Discussion Papers 617, Institut fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre und Statistik, Abteilung fuer Volkswirtschaftslehre.
  7. Creedy, John & Francois, Patrick, 1990. "Financing higher education and majority voting," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(2), pages 181-200, November.
  8. Gabrielle Demange, 2008. "The Provision of Higher Education in a Global World—Analysis and Policy Implications," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 54(2), pages 248-276, June.
  9. Garcia-Penalosa, Cecilia & Walde, Klaus, 2000. "Efficiency and Equity Effects of Subsidies to Higher Education," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 52(4), pages 702-22, October.
  10. Elena Del Rey, 2001. "Economic Integration and Public Provision of Education," Empirica, Springer, vol. 28(2), pages 203-218, June.
  11. Johnson, George E, 1984. "Subsidies for Higher Education," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 2(3), pages 303-18, July.
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