Teach a Man to Fish? Education vs. Optimal Taxation

27 Pages Posted: 5 May 2011 Last revised: 19 Apr 2012

Date Written: February 27, 2012


In models of redistribution, differences in human capital are often the relevant source of heterogeneity amongst individuals. Presumably, the distribution of human capital can be manipulated through education spending. This paper examines the use of education as a redistributive tool when there is a nonlinear tax system in place. The results show that taxation, whether under full or asymmetric information, substantially reduces the redistributive role of education spending in maximizing social welfare. This points to a conflict between the equalization of utility and human capital outcomes.

Keywords: Optimal Taxation, Redistribution, Equality of Opportunity

JEL Classification: D63, D82, H21, I22, I28

Suggested Citation

Stephens, Eric, Teach a Man to Fish? Education vs. Optimal Taxation (February 27, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1831462 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1831462

Eric Stephens (Contact Author)

University of Alberta ( email )

8-14 Tory Building
Edmonton, Alberta T6G 2H4

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