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Accounting for Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Persistence: The Impact of Taxation and Public Education Expenditure

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  • Holter, Hans A

    () (Uppsala Center for Fiscal Studies)

Abstract

I document a strong negative cross-country correlation between intergenerational earnings persistence and tax progressivity, and between intergenerational earnings persistence and public expenditure on tertiary education. To explain these correlations I then develop an intergenerational life-cycle model of human capital accumulation and earnings, which features, progressive taxation, public education expenditure, and borrowing constraints among the determinants of earnings persistence. I calibrate the model to US data and use it to decompose the contributions to earnings persistence from different model elements and to quantify how earnings persistence in the US changes as I introduce tax- and eduction expenditure policies from other countries. I find that individual investments in human capital accounts for 62% of the estimated intergenerational earnings persistence in the US. Taxation, through its impact on investments in human capital, can explain 25% of the difference between the US and 10 other countries, whereas borrowing constraints have a limited impact on earnings persistence.

Suggested Citation

  • Holter, Hans A, 2011. "Accounting for Cross-Country Differences in Intergenerational Earnings Persistence: The Impact of Taxation and Public Education Expenditure," Working Paper Series, Center for Fiscal Studies 2011:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:uufswp:2011_014
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    Cited by:

    1. Dominik Sachs & Sebastian Findeisen, 2016. "Optimal Financial Aid Policies for Students," 2016 Meeting Papers 1421, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    2. Holter, Hans A. & Krueger, Dirk & Stepanchuk, Serhiy, 2014. "How does tax progressivity and household heterogeneity affect Laffer curves?," CFS Working Paper Series 490, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).
    3. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2015. "Designing efficient college and tax policies," Working Papers 15-09, University of Mannheim, Department of Economics.
    4. Brinca, Pedro & Holter, Hans A. & Krusell, Per & Malafry, Laurence, 2016. "Fiscal multipliers in the 21st century," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 53-69.
    5. Rauh, Christopher, 2017. "Voting, education, and the Great Gatsby Curve," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 1-14.
    6. Tomoaki Kotera & Ananth Seshadri, 2017. "Educational Policy and Intergenerational Policy," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 25, pages 187-207, April.
    7. Christopher Rauh, 2015. "The Political Economy of Early and College Education - Can Voting Bend the Great Gatsby Curve?," 2015 Meeting Papers 82, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    8. Alexander Ludwig & Dirk Krueger, 2015. "Optimal Capital and Progressive Labor Income Taxation with Endogenous Schooling Decisions and Intergenerational Transfers," 2015 Meeting Papers 334, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    9. William Blankenau & Xiaoyan Youderian, 2015. "Early childhood education expenditures and the intergenerational persistence of income," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(2), pages 334-349, April.
    10. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2013. "On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance," MEA discussion paper series 201302, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    11. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2016. "On the optimal provision of social insurance: Progressive taxation versus education subsidies in general equilibrium," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 72-98.
    12. Alexander Ludwig & Dirk Krueger, 2010. "Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation," 2010 Meeting Papers 388, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    13. Christopher Herrington, 2015. "Public Education Financing, Earnings Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(4), pages 822-842, October.
    14. Guido Neidhöfer, 2016. "Intergenerational Mobility and the Rise and Fall of Inequality: Lessons from Latin America," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0196, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    15. Diego Daruich, 2018. "The Macroeconomic Consequences of Early Childhood Development Policies," Working Papers 2018-010, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
    16. Christopher Herrington, 2013. "Public Education Financing Systems, Earnings Inequality, and Intergenerational Mobility," 2013 Meeting Papers 1233, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    17. Kocharkov, Georgi & Mellert, Jan & Filote, Andra, 2015. "Teenage Childbearing and the Welfare State," Annual Conference 2015 (Muenster): Economic Development - Theory and Policy 113116, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    18. Soojin Kim, 2014. "The Effects of Labor Migration on Optimal Taxation: An International Tax Competition Analysis," 2014 Meeting Papers 508, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Intergenerational Earnings Persistence; Taxation; Public Education Expenditure;

    JEL classification:

    • E24 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Consumption, Saving, Production, Employment, and Investment - - - Employment; Unemployment; Wages; Intergenerational Income Distribution; Aggregate Human Capital; Aggregate Labor Productivity
    • E62 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Fiscal Policy
    • H31 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents - - - Household
    • H52 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Education
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J68 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Public Policy

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