The Graduate Tax when Education is a Signal
Myles, Gareth D.
Research in Economics
© 2015. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/
Reason for embargo
This paper investigates the effects of a graduate tax when the return to education is uncertain and wages are determined through equilibrium in a labor market with signalling. The consequence of uncertainty is that both ability and initial wealth matter for educational choice. Compared to a constrained first-best the market outcome with uncertainty and signalling results in an inefficiently high number of people entering higher education. Due to the positive wealth effect over-entry is proportionately greater for high-wealth individuals. The graduate tax reduces entry into education so enhances efficiency. However, it has undesirable distributional consequences: low-wealth individuals are deterred from entering education but high-wealth are encouraged. In this respect, the graduate tax has clear failings as a method of financing higher education.
This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Research in Economics.
Available online 14 August 2015