AbstractA large literature focuses on two important rationales for government subsidies to college students: positive fiscal externalities from a larger tax base, and liquidity constraints. This paper provides a first attempt to gauge the relative importance of these mechanisms. I use US data in combination with two modeling approaches: calibration of a simple structural model of human capital accumulation, and a ”sufficient statistics” approach. The resulting optimal subsidies are larger than median public tuition by about $3,000 per year. This finding is driven by fiscal externalities; optimal tuition subsidy policy is not sensitive to the extent of liquidity constraints. (JEL H52, H75, I22, I23, I28)
American Economic Journal: Economic Policy – American Economic Association
Published: Nov 1, 2017
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