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Designing Efficient Education and Tax Policies

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  • Sachs, Dominik
  • Findeisen, Sebastian

Abstract

We study education and income tax policies in a model with endogenous selection into college. Our framework is strongly influenced by the empirical college literature and incorporates heterogenous returns and tastes for college, earnings risk (implying uncertain returns to college) and potentially borrowing constraints. We (i) calculate revenue effects of various policy reforms starting from the current system and (ii) derive conditions for optimal education and tax policies with various degrees of sophistication: optimal college subsidies for given income taxes and vice versa, jointly optimal taxes and subsidies, and optimal education dependent taxes. We estimate the relevant parameters of the model for quantitative analysis. We find that the endogeneity of the college choice has only a small impact on optimal taxes and increasing subsidies to their optimal level leads to large welfare gains. Finally, we find that for the current US policies, an increase in education subsidies is self-financing via higher tax revenue in the future; if we allow grants to condition on parental background, this effect gets even stronger and children with poor academic background should receive higher subsidies for pure efficiency reasons -- efficient policies favor social mobility.

Suggested Citation

  • Sachs, Dominik & Findeisen, Sebastian, 2014. "Designing Efficient Education and Tax Policies," Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100504, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:vfsc14:100504
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Brant Abbott & Giovanni Gallipoli & Costas Meghir & Giovanni L. Violante, 2013. "Education Policy and Intergenerational Transfers in Equilibrium," Working Paper series 15_13, Rimini Centre for Economic Analysis.
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    3. Christoph Winter, 2014. "Accounting for the Changing Role of Family Income in Determining College Entry," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 116(4), pages 909-963, October.
    4. Jacquet, Laurence & Lehmann, Etienne & Van der Linden, Bruno, 2013. "Optimal redistributive taxation with both extensive and intensive responses," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1770-1805.
    5. A. Lans Bovenberg & Bas Jacobs, 2005. "Redistribution and Education Subsidies are Siamese Twins," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 05-036/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    6. Casey Rothschild & Florian Scheuer, 2016. "Optimal Taxation with Rent-Seeking," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 83(3), pages 1225-1262.
    7. Philippe Belley & Lance Lochner, 2007. "The Changing Role of Family Income and Ability in Determining Educational Achievement," Journal of Human Capital, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 37-89.
    8. Marek Kapicka, 2006. "Optimal Income Taxation with Human Capital Accumulation and Limited Record Keeping," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 9(4), pages 612-639, October.
    9. Julian Neira & Marek Kapicka, 2012. "Optimal Taxation in a Life-Cycle Economy with Endogenous Human Capital Formation," 2012 Meeting Papers 1164, Society for Economic Dynamics.
    10. Enrique G. Mendoza & Vivian Z. Yue, 2012. "A General Equilibrium Model of Sovereign Default and Business Cycles," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 127(2), pages 889-946.
    11. Florian Scheuer, 2014. "Entrepreneurial Taxation with Endogenous Entry," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(2), pages 126-163, May.
    12. Dayanand S. Manoli & Nicholas Turner, 2014. "Cash-on-Hand & College Enrollment: Evidence from Population Tax Data and Policy Nonlinearities," NBER Working Papers 19836, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    13. Bohacek, Radim & Kapicka, Marek, 2008. "Optimal human capital policies," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 1-16, January.
    14. Joseph G. Altonji & Prashant Bharadwaj & Fabian Lange, 2012. "Changes in the Characteristics of American Youth: Implications for Adult Outcomes," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 30(4), pages 783-828.
    15. Flavio Cunha & Fatih Karahan & Ilton Soares, 2011. "Returns to Skills and the College Premium," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 43, pages 39-86, August.
    16. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2016. "Education and optimal dynamic taxation: The role of income-contingent student loans," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 138(C), pages 1-21.
    17. Helmuth Cremer & Firouz Gahvari & Jean-Marie Lozachmeur, 2010. "Tagging and Income Taxation: Theory and an Application," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 2(1), pages 31-50, February.
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    Cited by:

    1. Findeisen, Sebastian & Sachs, Dominik, 2017. "Redistribution and insurance with simple tax instruments," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 58-78.
    2. Lochner, Lance & Monge-Naranjo, Alexander, 2014. "Student Loans and Repayment: Theory, Evidence and Policy," Working Papers 2014-40, Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, revised 12 Nov 2014.
    3. Krueger, Dirk & Ludwig, Alexander, 2013. "On the Optimal Provision of Social Insurance," MEA discussion paper series 201302, Munich Center for the Economics of Aging (MEA) at the Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy.
    4. Wolfram F. Richter & Kerstin Schneider, 2015. "Education: Optimal Choice and Efficient Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 5352, CESifo Group Munich.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • I22 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Educational Finance; Financial Aid

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