Does high income inequality signify inequality of opportunities?
AbstractIt is often presumed that Gini coefficient values taken to reflect high income inequality are largely due to some combination of socioeconomic factors that gives rise to inequality of opportunities. We demonstrate, using computer simulations, that practically every Gini value within the entire range observed in state economies can be approximated by at least one of a set of possible models of an economy in which earning is totally due to random factors. Although that clearly does not prove that opportunities are in reality fairly equal, it does suggest that inequality of opportunities is not necessary for high income inequality. At the least, it relegates the burden of proof to whoever ascribes the latter largely to the former.
Download InfoIf you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
Bibliographic InfoPaper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 51408.
Date of creation: 12 Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Gini; Lorenz; income inequality; inequality of opportunities;
Find related papers by JEL classification:
- D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
- D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
- I3 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty
- I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty
- P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
- Y1 - Miscellaneous Categories - - Data: Tables and Charts
This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "Income Inequality In The United States, 1913-1998," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, MIT Press, vol. 118(1), pages 1-39, February.
- Joshua M. Epstein & Robert L. Axtell, 1996. "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262550253, December.
- Sen, Amartya, 1997. "On Economic Inequality," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, Oxford University Press, number 9780198292975, October.
- Tomes, Nigel, 1981. "The Family, Inheritance, and the Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 928-58, October.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Ekkehart Schlicht).
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.