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Optimal Paternalistic Health and Human Capital Policies

Author

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  • Marcelo Arbex

    (Department of Economics, University of Windsor)

  • Enlinson Mattos

    (São Paulo School of Economics, Getulio Vargas Foundation)

Abstract

We study optimal human and health linear policies when there is a paternalistic motive to overcome present bias problems of agents with heterogeneous cognitive skills. The paternalistic intervention is meant to reward individuals for physical capital accumulation and the combined effect of health and human capital on future earnings. Our results highlight a novel effect of paternalistic policies due to the interaction between present-biased preferences and cognitive skills. We show that a single policy on the agent's earnings captures all the corrections that would be required if the planner were to implement other policy instruments, for instance, subsidies targeting human and health capital separately or current biased decisions. A numerical exercise illustrates that this policy package is the most effective, requiring lower tax revenues to correct for present bias and agents misperception of their own cognitive skills problems. We analyze the relevance of agent's cognitive skills and present-biased preferences for the determination of first-best and constrained first-best optimal policies.t technologies. Welfare is higher if consumer auditing is the only tax enforcement policy.

Suggested Citation

  • Marcelo Arbex & Enlinson Mattos, 2017. "Optimal Paternalistic Health and Human Capital Policies," Working Papers 1709, University of Windsor, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:wis:wpaper:1709
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Paternalism; Optimal Taxation; Education; Health.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D61 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Allocative Efficiency; Cost-Benefit Analysis
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • I28 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Government Policy

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