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On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance: Progressive Taxation versus Education Subsidies in General Equilibrium

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  • Krueger, Dirk
  • Ludwig, Alexander

Abstract

In this paper we compute the optimal tax and education policy transition in an economy where progressive taxes provide social insurance against idiosyncratic wage risk, but distort the education decision of households. Optimally chosen tertiary education subsidies mitigate these distortions. We highlight the quantitative importance of general equilibrium feedback effects from policies to relative wages of skilled and unskilled workers: subsidizing higher education increases the share of workers with a college degree thereby reducing the college wage premium which has important redistributive benefits. We also argue that a full characterization of the transition path is crucial for policy evaluation. We find that optimal education policies are always characterized by generous tuition subsidies, but the optimal degree of income tax progressivity depends crucially on whether transitional costs of policies are explicitly taken into account and how strongly the college premium responds to policy changes in general equilibrium.

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  • Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2015. "On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance: Progressive Taxation versus Education Subsidies in General Equilibrium," CEPR Discussion Papers 10806, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:10806
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    Cited by:

    1. Rana Sajedi & Gregory Thwaites, 2016. "Why Are Real Interest Rates So Low? The Role of the Relative Price of Investment Goods," IMF Economic Review, Palgrave Macmillan;International Monetary Fund, vol. 64(4), pages 635-659, November.
    2. Krueger, D. & Mitman, K. & Perri, F., 2016. "Macroeconomics and Household Heterogeneity," Handbook of Macroeconomics, Elsevier.
    3. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Working Paper series 15_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
    4. Juan Carlos Conesa & Daniela Costa & Parisa Kamali & Timothy J. Kehoe & Vegard M. Nygard & Gajendran Raveendranathan & Akshar Saxena, 2017. "Macroeconomic Effects of Medicare," NBER Working Papers 23389, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
      • Conesa, Juan Carlos & Costa, Daniela & Kamali, Parisa & Kehoe, Timothy J. & Nygard, Vegard & Raveendranathan, Gajen & Saxena, Akshar, 2017. "Macroeconomic Effects of Medicare," Staff Report 548, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
    5. Winfried Koeniger & Julien Prat, 2018. "Human Capital and Optimal Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 27, pages 1-26, January.
    6. repec:eee:hapoch:v1_713 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. Juergen Jung & Chung Tran, 2017. "Optimal Progressive Income Taxation in a Bewley-Grossman Framework," Working Papers 2017-01, Towson University, Department of Economics, revised Mar 2017.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    education subsidy; progressive taxation; transitional dynamics;

    JEL classification:

    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

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