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Welfare Effects of Privatizing Public Education When Human Capital Investments Are Risky

Fabian Kindermann

Journal of Human Capital, 2012, vol. 6, issue 2, 87 - 123

Abstract: In an overlapping-generations model with risky human capital investment, borrowing constraints, and intergenerational transmission of abilities, I examine the effects of a change from publicly to privately funded college education. I find that from this reform, college graduates are better off compared to other workers since the college wage premium increases by around 50 percent. The reform deteriorates aggregate efficiency by (i) enforcing liquidity constraints, (ii) abolishing public insurance provision against educational risk, and (iii) increasing utility costs of college education via intergenerational spillovers. A success-dependent student loan system can offset efficiency losses but fails to generate efficiency gains.

Date: 2012
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