Investing in Our Children: A Not so Radical Proposal

74 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2004

See all articles by Donald B. Tobin

Donald B. Tobin

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


The United States is currently under-investing in the human capital of its children. This significant investment deficit threatens both our children's vitality and the nation's ability to compete in a knowledge-based economy. At all income levels, investment in children - in education, housing, training, and nutrition - has significant long-term beneficial returns for both the recipients of the investment and for society as a whole. This article proposes to shift the focus of our current fiscal policies towards human capital investment in children. It advocates a self-sustaining investment program that delivers resources directly to children and that children are required to repay when they start working. The article relies on the economic literature on human capital, the educational literature on the impact of money on childhood attainments, and the political theory literature on civic responsibility to help justify a self-sustaining investment program implementing through the tax code. This article seeks to promote new ways of evaluating our current programs and policies and to facilitate further discussion about a child-centered investment strategy.

Keywords: children, tax, human capital, investment

JEL Classification: E62, H24, J13, K34

Suggested Citation

Tobin, Donald B., Investing in Our Children: A Not so Radical Proposal. Ohio State Public Law Working Paper No. 7, Available at SSRN:

Donald B. Tobin (Contact Author)

University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law ( email )

500 West Baltimore Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1786
United States

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