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Optimal population and education

If raising and educating children is a private cost to households, while the availability of skilled labor supply resulting from the households' fertility and education choices is a public good, then competitive equilibria typically deliver a suboptimal mix of size and skills of the population. In particular, households would underinvest in their children education compared to the optimal level. This is the case even if households are aware of the increase in savings returns implied by a higher supply of skilled labor and manage to coordinate to try to exploit this effect. This paper shows that a tax-financed compulsory education is unlikely to implement the optimal steady state, even if the mandatory level of education is the optimal one (the system of equations is overdetermined). Nevertheless, a pensions scheme that makes payments contingent to the household fertility and investment in its children's education can implement the first-best steady state. The pension scheme is balanced period by period by financing pensions through a payroll tax on the increase in children's labor income resulting from their parents' human capital investment.

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Paper provided by Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne in its series Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne with number 11069.

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Length: 31 pages
Date of creation: Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:11069
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  1. Oded Galor, 2006. "The Demographic Transition," Working Papers 2006-24, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  2. Helmut Cremer & Firouz Gahvari & Pierre Pestieau, 2006. "Pensions with endogenous and stochastic fertility," Working Papers 22594, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France.
  3. Schoonbroodt, Alice & Tertilt, Michele, 2010. "Property rights and efficiency in OLG models with endogenous fertility," Discussion Paper Series In Economics And Econometrics 1020, Economics Division, School of Social Sciences, University of Southampton.
  4. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521715348 is not listed on IDEAS
  5. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521681599 is not listed on IDEAS
  6. G. ABIO & Géraldine MAHIEU & C. Patxot, 2002. "On the Optimality of PAYG Pension Systems in an Endogenous Fertility Setting," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2002006, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
  7. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521887427 is not listed on IDEAS
  8. Duranton, Gilles & Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2010. "The Economics of Clusters: Lessons from the French Experience," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199592203.
  9. Eckstein, Zvi & Wolpin, Kenneth I., 1985. "Endogenous fertility and optimal population size," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 93-106, June.
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