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Borrowing Constraints, College Aid, and Intergenerational Mobility

  • Eric A. Hanushek
  • Charles Ka Yui Leung
  • Kuzey Yilmaz

The current level and form of subsidization of college education is often rationalized by appeal to capital constraints on individuals. Because borrowing against human capital is difficult, capital constraints can lead to nonoptimal outcomes unless government intervenes. We develop a simple dynamic general equilibrium model of the economy that permits us to explore the impact of alternative ways of subsidizing higher education. The key features of this model include endogenously determined bequests from parents that can be used to finance schooling, uncertainty in college completion related to differences in ability, and wage determination based upon the amount of schooling in the economy. Because policies toward college lead to large changes in schooling, it is very important to consider the general equilibrium effects on wages. Within this structure, we analyze tuition subsidies such as exist in most public colleges, alternative forms of need-based aid, income contingent loans, and merit-based aid. Each of these policies tends both to improve the efficiency of the economy while yielding more intergenerational mobility and greater income equality. But, the various policies have quite different implications for societal welfare, and the underlying subsidy patterns vary widely.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w10711.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 10711.

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Date of creation: Aug 2004
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Publication status: published as Eric A. Hanushek & Charles Ka Yui Leung & Kuzey Yilmaz, 2014. "Borrowing Constraints, College Aid, and Intergenerational Mobility," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 8(1), pages 1 - 41.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:10711
Note: LS PE CH
Contact details of provider: Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.
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  17. John Bound & Michael F. Lovenheim & Sarah Turner, 2010. "Why Have College Completion Rates Declined? An Analysis of Changing Student Preparation and Collegiate Resources," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 2(3), pages 129-57, July.
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  19. Crumpler, Heidi & Grossman, Philip J., 2008. "An experimental test of warm glow giving," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 1011-1021, June.
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  22. Bound, John & Turner, Sarah, 2007. "Cohort crowding: How resources affect collegiate attainment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(5-6), pages 877-899, June.
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  25. Epple, Dennis & Romano, Richard & Sieg, Holger, 2000. "Peer Effects, Financial Aid, and Selection of Students into Colleges and Universities: An Empirical Analysis," Working Papers 00-02, Duke University, Department of Economics.
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