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Intergenerational transfer of human capital and optimal education policy

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  • CREMER, Helmuth
  • PESTIEAU, Pierre

Abstract

This paper studies the design of education policies in a setting of successive generations with heterogeneous individuals (high and low earning ability). Parents' investment in education is motivated by warm glow altruism and determines the probability that a child has high ability. Education policies consist of a subsidy on private educational investments and possibly of public education. We show that when an income tax is available, the subsidy on education should not depend on redistributive considerations. Instead, it is determined by two terms. First, a Pigouvian term which arises because under warm glow altruism parents' utility does not properly account for the impact of education on future generations. The second term captures a 'merit good' effect, which arises when the warm glow term is not fully included in social welfare (possibility of laundering out). The two terms are of opposite sign and the optimal subsidy may be positive or negative. Finally, we derive conditions under which public education is welfare improving and show that total crowding out of private expenditure (for one of the types) may be desirable.

Suggested Citation

  • CREMER, Helmuth & PESTIEAU, Pierre, 2003. "Intergenerational transfer of human capital and optimal education policy," CORE Discussion Papers 2003030, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  • Handle: RePEc:cor:louvco:2003030
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    File URL: https://uclouvain.be/en/research-institutes/immaq/core/dp-2003.html
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Gianni de Fraja, 2002. "The Design of Optimal Education Policies," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(2), pages 437-466.
    2. Cremer, Helmuth & Pestieau, Pierre & Rochet, Jean-Charles, 2003. "Capital income taxation when inherited wealth is not observable," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(11), pages 2475-2490, October.
    3. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 1993. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 60(1), pages 35-52.
    4. Raquel Fernandez & Richard Rogerson, 1996. "Income Distribution, Communities, and the Quality of Public Education," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(1), pages 135-164.
    5. Roland Benabou, 2002. "Tax and Education Policy in a Heterogeneous-Agent Economy: What Levels of Redistribution Maximize Growth and Efficiency?," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 70(2), pages 481-517, March.
    6. Atkinson, A. B. & Stiglitz, J. E., 1976. "The design of tax structure: Direct versus indirect taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 6(1-2), pages 55-75.
    7. Glomm, Gerhard & Ravikumar, B, 1992. "Public versus Private Investment in Human Capital Endogenous Growth and Income Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(4), pages 818-834, August.
    8. Andreoni, James, 1989. "Giving with Impure Altruism: Applications to Charity and Ricardian Equivalence," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 97(6), pages 1447-1458, December.
    9. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz, 1997. "In-kind transfers, self-selection and optimal tax policy," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 41(1), pages 97-114, January.
    10. Cremer, Helmuth & Gahvari, Firouz & Ladoux, Norbert, 1998. "Externalities and optimal taxation," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 343-364, December.
    11. Drazen, Allan, 1978. "Government Debt, Human Capital, and Bequests in a Life-Cycle Model," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 86(3), pages 505-516, June.
    12. Costas Azariadis & Allan Drazen, 1990. "Threshold Externalities in Economic Development," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 105(2), pages 501-526.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Wu, T.C. Michael & Yang, C.C., 2012. "The welfare effect of income tax deductions for losses as insurance: Insured- versus insurer-sided adverse selection," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 2641-2645.
    2. Michele Bernasconi & Paola Profeta, 2007. "Redistribution or Education? The Political Economy of the Social Race," CESifo Working Paper Series 1934, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Marion Davin & Karine Gente & Carine Nourry, 2012. "Social optimum in an OLG model with paternalistic altruism," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 32(4), pages 3417-3424.
    4. Alessandra Casarico & Alessandro Sommacal, 2012. "Labor Income Taxation, Human Capital, and Growth: The Role of Childcare," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 114(4), pages 1182-1207, December.
    5. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2016. "The design of long term care insurance contracts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 330-339.
    6. Theodore Palivos & Dimitrios Varvarigos, 2013. "Intergenerational Complementarities in Education, Endogenous Public Policy, and the Relation Between Growth and Volatility," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 15(2), pages 249-272, April.
    7. Genicot, Garance, 2016. "Two-sided altruism and signaling," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 145(C), pages 92-97.
    8. Helmuth Cremer & ) & Pierre Pestieau, 2003. "Wealth Transfer Taxation: A Survey," Public Economics 0311003, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    9. Nikos Benos, 2004. "Education Policies and Economic Growth," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 4-2004, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    10. Alessandra Casarico & Luca Micheletto & Alessandro Sommacal, 2015. "Intergenerational transmission of skills during childhood and optimal public policy," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 28(2), pages 353-372, April.
    11. Bernasconi, Michele & Profeta, Paola, 2012. "Public education and redistribution when talents are mismatched," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 56(1), pages 84-96.
    12. C. Fan & Jie Zhang, 2013. "Differential fertility and intergenerational mobility under private versus public education," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 26(3), pages 907-941, July.
    13. Wu, T.C. Michael & Yang, C.C., 2014. "Income tax deductions for losses as insurance revisited," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 41(C), pages 274-280.
    14. Helmuth Cremer & Pierre Pestieau, 2011. "The Tax Treatment of Intergenerational Wealth Transfers ," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(2), pages 365-401, June.
    15. Francesca Carta, 2013. "Investing in the youngest: the optimal child care policy," Questioni di Economia e Finanza (Occasional Papers) 180, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    16. Cremer, Helmuth & Lozachmeur, Jean-Marie & Pestieau, Pierre, 2016. "The design of long term care insurance contracts," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(C), pages 330-339.
    17. Sano, Koichiro & Tomoda, Yasunobu, 2010. "Optimal public education policy in a two sector model," Economic Modelling, Elsevier, vol. 27(5), pages 991-995, September.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I20 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - General
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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