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Equality of Opportunity: Definitions and Testable Conditions with an Application to Income in France

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Abstract

We offer a model of equality of opportunity that encompasses different conceptions expressed in the public and philosophical debates. In addition to circumstances whose effect on outcome should be compensated and effort which represents a legitimate source of inequality, we introduce a third factor, luck, that captures the non-responsibility factors whose impact on outcome should be even-handed for equality of opportunity to be satisfied. Then, we analyse how the various definitions of equality of opportunity can be empirically identified, given data limitations and provide testable conditions. Definitions and conditions resort to standard stochastic dominance tools. Lastly, we develop an empirical analysis of equality of opportunity for income acquisition in France over the period 1979-2000 which reveals that the degree of inequality of opportunity tends to decrease and that the degree of risk of income distributions, conditional on social origin, appears very similar across all groups of social origins.Classification-JEL:D63, J62, C14

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Institut d'economie publique (IDEP), Marseille, France in its series IDEP Working Papers with number 0609.

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Length: 51 pages
Date of creation: 27 Sep 2006
Date of revision: 27 Sep 2006
Handle: RePEc:iep:wpidep:0609

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Keywords: Equality of opportunity; Income distribution; Luck; Stochastic dominance.;

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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jacques Silber & Olivier Giovannoni & Amedeo Spadaro, 2007. "Inequality of Life Chances and the Measurement of Social Immobility," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_513, Levy Economics Institute, The.
  2. Juan Rodríguez, 2008. "Partial equality-of-opportunity orderings," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 435-456, October.
  3. Ashish Singh, 2010. "The Effect of Family Background on Individual Wages and an Examination of Inequality of Opportunity in India," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 230-246, September.
  4. Calo-Blanco, Aitor & Villar, Antonio, 2009. "Education, Utilitarianism, and Equality of Opportunity," MPRA Paper 18720, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  5. Peragine, Vito & Serlenga, Laura, 2007. "Higher Education and Equality of Opportunity in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 3163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  6. Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2009. "Inequality of Opportunity and Growth," Working Papers 2009-24, FEDEA.
  7. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2010. "Modelling opportunity in health under partial observability of circumstances," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 252-264.
  8. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2008. "Values, inequality and happiness," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 669, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
  9. Aitor Calo, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and optimal effort decision under uncertainty," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
  10. Brigitte Dormont & Anne-Laure Samson, 2007. "Restrictions on the number of physicians and Intergenerational Inequalities : Experience, Time and Vintage effects in GPs’ earnings," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
  11. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2007. "Inequality and Happiness," Working Papers 75, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  12. Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2007. "Partial and complete equality-of-opportunity orderings," Working Papers 70, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.

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