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Ex ante versus ex post equality of opportunity

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  • Marc Fleurbaey

    ()
    (CNRS-CERSES, University of Paris-Descartes, CORE (University of Louvain-la-Neuve) and IDEP)

  • Vito Peragine

    ()
    (University of Bari and CHILD (University of Turin))

Abstract

We study the difference between the ex post and the ex ante perspectives in equality of opportunity (EOp), and the possibility of a clash between them. We argue that ex ante EOp is a potential trap because someone motivated by ex post EOp may be led to believe that ex ante EOp is another natural embodiment of the same idea. As we show, it is not. Moreover, we explore the relationship between the ex post/ex ante tension and the well documented clash between the "compensation principle" and various "reward principles": we show that the tension between reward and compensation only exists if one endorses an ex post view of EOp; on the contrary, it vanishes if one adopts an ex ante view of equality of opportunity.

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File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2009-141.pdf
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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 141.

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Length: 19 pages
Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2009-141

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Keywords: equality of opportunity; ex ante/ex post; compensation; reward;

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  1. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
  2. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2008. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215911, October.
  3. Fleurbaey Marc, 1995. "Three Solutions for the Compensation Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 505-521, April.
  4. Kranich, L., 1993. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Papers, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics 3-93-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  5. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
  6. Checchi, Daniele & Peragine, Vito, 2005. "Regional Disparities and Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 1874, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
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