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Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation

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  • Dirk Krueger
  • Alexander Ludwig

Abstract

In this paper we characterize quantitatively the optimal mix of progressive income taxes and education subsidies in a model with endogenous human capital formation, borrowing constraints, income risk and incomplete financial markets. Progressive labor income taxes provide social insurance against idiosyncratic income risk and redistributes after tax income among ex-ante heterogeneous households. In addition to the standard distortions of labor supply progressive taxes also impede the incentives to acquire higher education, generating a non-trivial trade-off for the benevolent utilitarian government. The latter distortion can potentially be mitigated by an education subsidy. We find that the welfare-maximizing fiscal policy is indeed characterized by a substantially progressive labor income tax code and a positive subsidy for college education. Both the degree of tax progressivity and the education subsidy are larger than in the current U.S. status quo.

Suggested Citation

  • Dirk Krueger & Alexander Ludwig, 2013. "Optimal Progressive Taxation and Education Subsidies in a Model of Endogenous Human Capital Formation," Working Paper Series in Economics 60, University of Cologne, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:kls:series:0060
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Marek Kapicka & Julian Neira, 2015. "Optimal Taxation with Risky Human Capital," CERGE-EI Working Papers wp553, The Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education - Economics Institute, Prague.
    2. Baris Kaymak & CHEUK SHING LEUNG & Markus Poschke, 2018. "Accounting for the determinants of wealth concentration in the US," 2018 Meeting Papers 911, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    3. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1887, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
    4. Kaymak, Barış & Poschke, Markus, 2016. "The evolution of wealth inequality over half a century: The role of taxes, transfers and technology," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 77(C), pages 1-25.
    5. Ozan Bakis & Baris Kaymak & Markus Poschke, 2015. "Transitional Dynamics and the Optimal Progressivity of Income Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 18(3), pages 679-693, July.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Progressive Taxation; Capital Taxation; Optimal Taxation;

    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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