Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity
AbstractInterest in economic mobility stems largely from its perceived role as an equalizer of opportunities, though not necessarily of outcomes. In this paper we show that this view leads very naturally to a methodology for the measurement of social mobility which has strong parallels with the theory of progressive taxation. We characterize opportunity--equalizing mobility processes, and provide simple criteria to determine when one process is more equalizing than another. We then explain how this mobility ordering relates to social welfare analysis, and how it differs from existing ones. We also extend standard indices of tax progressivity to mobility processes, and illustrate our general methodology on intra- and intergenerational mobility data from the United States and Italy.
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Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 8431.
Date of creation: Aug 2001
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Other versions of this item:
- Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 2000. "Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity," Papers 211, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
- R. Bénabou & E. Ok, . "Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity," Princeton Economic Theory Papers 00f1, Economics Department, Princeton University.
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
- NEP-ALL-2001-08-21 (All new papers)
- NEP-LTV-2001-08-21 (Unemployment, Inequality & Poverty)
- NEP-PKE-2001-08-21 (Post Keynesian Economics)
- NEP-PUB-2001-08-21 (Public Finance)
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