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Implications of Increasing College Attainment for Aging in General Equilibrium

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  • Juan Carlos Conesa
  • Timothy J. Kehoe
  • Vegard M. Nygaard
  • Gajendran Raveendranathan

Abstract

We develop an overlapping generations general equilibrium model of the U.S. economy with heterogeneous consumers who face idiosyncratic earnings and health risk to study the implications of increasing college attainment, decreasing fertility, and increasing longevity (2005–2100). While all three trends contribute to a higher old age dependency ratio, increasing college attainment has different implications because it increases labor productivity. Decreasing fertility and increasing longevity require the government to increase the average labor tax rate from 33.5 to 47.1 percent. Increasing college attainment lowers the required tax increase by 12.0 percentage points. The labor tax rate required to balance the government budget is higher under general equilibrium than in a small open economy with a constant interest rate, because the reduction in the interest rate lowers capital income tax revenues.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Carlos Conesa & Timothy J. Kehoe & Vegard M. Nygaard & Gajendran Raveendranathan, 2019. "Implications of Increasing College Attainment for Aging in General Equilibrium," NBER Working Papers 26000, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:26000
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Mendoza, Enrique G. & Razin, Assaf & Tesar, Linda L., 1994. "Effective tax rates in macroeconomics: Cross-country estimates of tax rates on factor incomes and consumption," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 34(3), pages 297-323, December.
    2. Svetlana Pashchenko & Ponpoje Porapakkarm, 2013. "Quantitative Analysis of Health Insurance Reform: Separating Regulation from Redistribution," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 16(3), pages 383-404, July.
    3. Jung, Juergen & Tran, Chung & Chambers, Matthew, 2017. "Aging and health financing in the U.S.: A general equilibrium analysis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 428-462.
    4. Conesa, Juan Carlos & Costa, Daniela & Kamali, Parisa & Kehoe, Timothy J. & Nygard, Vegard M. & Raveendranathan, Gajendran & Saxena, Akshar, 2018. "Macroeconomic effects of Medicare," The Journal of the Economics of Ageing, Elsevier, vol. 11(C), pages 27-40.
    5. Michael G. Palumbo, 1999. "Uncertain Medical Expenses and Precautionary Saving Near the End of the Life Cycle," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 66(2), pages 395-421.
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H20 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - General
    • H51 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Health
    • H55 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Social Security and Public Pensions
    • I13 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Insurance, Public and Private
    • J11 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Demographic Trends, Macroeconomic Effects, and Forecasts

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