Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #202

Taxing Human Capital: A Good Idea

by Christoph Braun

TU Dortmund, RGS Econ, 09/2010, 28 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-229-3



This paper studies a Ramsey optimal taxation model with human capital in an infinite-horizon setting. Contrary to Jones, Manuelli, and Rossi (1997), the human capital production function does not include the current stock of human capital as a production factor. As a result, the return to human capital, namely labor income, does not vanish in equilibrium. In a stationary state, the household underinvests in human capital relative to the fi rst best, i.e., education is distorted. Human capital is effectively taxed. The optimal tax scheme prescribes making the cost of education not fully tax-deductible.

JEL-Classification: H21, I28, J24

Keywords: Optimal taxation; human capital; Ramsey approach