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Optimal Taxation of Risky Human Capital

Author

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  • Bas Jacobs
  • Dirk Schindler
  • Hongyan Yang

Abstract

In a model with ex-ante homogenous households, earnings risk and a general earnings function, we derive the optimal linear labor tax rate and optimal linear education subsidies. The optimal income tax trades off social insurance against incentives to work and to invest in human capital. Education subsidies are not used for social insurance, but are only targeted at off-setting the distortions of the labor tax and internalizing a fiscal externality. Both optimal education subsidies and tax rates increase if labor and education are more complementary, since education subsidies indirectly lower labor tax distortions by stimulating labor supply. Optimal education subsidies (taxes) also correct non-tax distortions arising from missing insurance markets. Education subsidies internalize a positive (negative) fiscal externality if there is underinvestment (overinvestment) in education due to risk. Education policy unambiguously allows for more social insurance if education is a risky activity. However, if education hedges against labor market risk, optimal tax rates could be lower than without education subsidies.

Suggested Citation

  • Bas Jacobs & Dirk Schindler & Hongyan Yang, 2009. "Optimal Taxation of Risky Human Capital," CESifo Working Paper Series 2529, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_2529
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S., 1980. "Labor supply, uncertainty, and efficient taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(3), pages 365-374, December.
    2. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Hans-Werner Sinn, 1996. "Social insurance, incentives and risk taking," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 3(3), pages 259-280, July.
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    7. Gould, Eric D & Moav, Omer & Weinberg, Bruce A, 2001. "Precautionary Demand for Education, Inequality, and Technological Progress," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 6(4), pages 285-315, December.
    8. Christian Belzil & Jörgen Hansen, 2002. "Earnings Dispersion, Risk Aversion and Education," CIRANO Working Papers 2002s-20, CIRANO.
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    10. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1995. "Uncertainty, Optimal Taxation and the Direct versus Indirect Tax Controversy," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 105(432), pages 1165-1179, September.
    11. von Weizsäcker, Robert K & Wigger, Berthold, 1998. "Risk, Resources and Education," CEPR Discussion Papers 1808, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Mikhail Golosov & Aleh Tsyvinski & Ivan Werning, 2007. "New Dynamic Public Finance: A User's Guide," NBER Chapters,in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2006, Volume 21, pages 317-388 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Diamond, Peter A & Mirrlees, James A, 1986. " Payroll-Tax Financed Social Insurance with Variable Retirement," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 88(1), pages 25-50.
    14. 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.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Anderberg, Dan, 2009. "Optimal policy and the risk properties of human capital reconsidered," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(9-10), pages 1017-1026, October.
    2. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2015. "Optimal Income Taxation with Risky Earnings: A Synthesis," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 17(6), pages 773-801, December.
    3. Concetta Mendolicchio & Dimitri Paolini & Tito Pietra, 2014. "Income Taxes, Subsidies to Education, and Investments in Human Capital," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(1), pages 24-47, February.
    4. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2011. "Education and Optimal Dynamic Taxation," IZA Discussion Papers 6056, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    5. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2015. "Designing efficient college and tax policies," Working Papers 15-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    6. 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.
    7. Robin Boadway & Motohiro Sato, 2011. "Optimal Income Taxation with Uncertain Earnings: A Synthesis," CESifo Working Paper Series 3654, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. OBARA, Takuya, 2018. "Optimal human capital policies under the endogenous choice of educational types," CCES Discussion Paper Series 66, Center for Research on Contemporary Economic Systems, Graduate School of Economics, Hitotsubashi University.
    9. Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "Optimal Income, Education, and Bequest Taxes in an Intergenerational Model," NBER Working Papers 21177, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Bas Jacobs & Hongyan Yang, 2013. "Second-Best Income Taxation with Endogenous Human Capital and Borrowing Constraints," CESifo Working Paper Series 4155, CESifo Group Munich.
    11. Mendolicchio Concetta & Paolini Dimitri & Pietra Tito, 2012. "Asymmetric Information And Overeducation," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 12(1), pages 1-29, October.
    12. Bas Jacobs & Hongyan Yang, 2016. "Second-best income taxation and education policy with endogenous human capital and borrowing constraints," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 23(2), pages 234-268, April.
    13. Dirk Schindler & Hongyan Yang, 2015. "Catalysts for social insurance: education subsidies versus physical capital taxation," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 22(2), pages 274-310, April.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    labor taxation; human capital investment; education subsidies; idiosyncratic risk; risk properties of human capital;

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • J20 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - General

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