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12:30 - 13:40 8 December 2010

Optimal Tax When Children's Abilities Depend on Parents' Resources (with Matthew Weinzierl)


IFS Conference Room | (link Map)
7 Ridgmount Street | London | WC1E 7AE |

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Alexander Gelber, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton


Abstract: Micro and macro data suggest that the distribution of resources among families affects children’s future earnings abilities. As a result, an optimal tax policy will treat future ability distributions as endogenous. In this paper, we explore the basic economics of optimal tax policy when children’s abilities are a function of parental resources. We also numerically simulate optimal policy in this setting, using evidence on the distribution and heritability of natural abilities and the elasticity of children’s ability with respect to parental resources to parameterize the model. Preliminary results show that optimal policy raises the earnings abilities of all children relative to a policy that neglects the endogeneity of ability, and that the welfare gains from optimal policy are substantial.


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