Equality of opportunity and other equity principles in the context of developing countries
AbstractI propose a personal reading of some theories of social justice at a moment when the issue of equality or equity appears to be back on the ‘development agenda’. Nowadays the term equity tends to be most often associated with the equality of opportunity principle. After having briefly summarized the equality of opportunity standpoint, I review the two main criticisms that have been addressed to it inside the economic literature: the right-wing meritocratic criticism on the one hand, and the left-wing egalitarian criticism on the other. I supplement these internal criticisms with a sociological or anthropological standpoint that advocates for a more pluralist definition of justice and gives a central role to the competition between elites for legitimacy. I argue that despite its indubitable potency (even for issues like international inequalities between countries), the equality of opportunity principle is incomplete and that some meritocratic principles and some equalization of outcomes should enter into play when thinking about social justice in a given real society. Moreover, a socially relevant conception of justice should take into account cultural variations in the definition of fairness. A universalist definition of justice is better preserved when the issue of tyranny and separation of powers is considered at both the social and political levels.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by Paris Dauphine University in its series Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine with number 123456789/4404.
Date of creation: 2005
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in DIAL Document de travail, 2005
Séparation des pouvoirs; Equité; Développement; Economie politique; Méritocratie; Egalité des chances; Inégalité; Justice distributive; Separation of Powers; Equity; Development; Political Economy; Meritocracy; Equality of Opportunity; Inequality; Distributive Justice;
Other versions of this item:
- Denis Cogneau, 2005. "Equality of opportunity and other equity principles in the context of developing countries," Working Papers DT/2005/01, DIAL (Développement, Institutions et Mondialisation).
- P50 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - General
- O15 - Economic Development, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Economic Development: Human Resources; Human Development; Income Distribution; Migration
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
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