DP5686 Investments into Education - Doing as the Parents Did

Author(s): Georg Kirchsteiger, Alexander Sebald
Publication Date: May 2006
Keyword(s): education subsidy, human capital formation, indirect reciprocity
JEL(s): H23, H52, I2
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=5686

Empirical evidence suggests that parents with higher levels of education generally also attach a higher importance to the education of their children. This implies an intergenerational chain transmitting the attitude towards the formation of human capital from one generation to the next. We incorporate this intergenerational chain into an OLG-model with endogenous human capital formation. In absence of any state intervention such an economy might be characterized by multiple steady states. A temporary public investment into human capital formation is then needed for a transition from a steady state with low human capital levels to one with a higher human capital level. Furthermore, it can be shown that even the best steady state is suboptimal when the human capital is privately provided. This inefficiency can be overcome by a permanent public subsidy for education.