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Measuring and Implementing Equality of Opportunity for Income

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  • Vitorocco Peragine

Abstract

Departing from the welfarist tradition, recent theories of justice focus on individual opportunities as the appropriate standard for distributive judgments. Justice is seen as requiring equality of opportunity, instead of outcomes, among the individuals. To explore how this philosophical conception can be translated into concrete public policy, we select the in-come as relevant outcome and the income tax as the relevant redistributive policy, and we address the following questions: (i) what is the degree of opportunity inequality in an income distribution? (ii) how to design an opportunity egalitarian income tax policy? Both positive and normative criteria for ranking income distributions on the basis of equality of oppor-tunities are derived. Moreover, we characterize an opportunity egalitarian income tax policy and we formulate criteria for choosing among alternative tax systems.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, University of York in its series Discussion Papers with number 98/11.

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Handle: RePEc:yor:yorken:98/11

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  1. Laurence Kranich, 1996. "Equitable opportunities in economic environments," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 14(1), pages 57-64.
  2. Bossert, Walter, 1995. "Redistribution mechanisms based on individual characteristics," Mathematical Social Sciences, Elsevier, vol. 29(1), pages 1-17, February.
  3. Kranich, L., 1993. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Papers 3-93-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1996. "Redistribution and compensation (*)," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 13(3), pages 343-355.
  5. Bossert, W. & Fleurbaey, M. & Van de gaer, D., 1996. "On Second-Best Compensation," Papers 9607, Paris X - Nanterre, U.F.R. de Sc. Ec. Gest. Maths Infor..
  6. Herrero, Carmen, 1997. "Equitable opportunities: an extension," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 55(1), pages 91-95, August.
  7. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "A Pragmatic Theory of Responsibility for the Egalitarian Planner," Papers 391, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
  8. Efe A. Ok & Laurence Kranich, 1998. "The measurement of opportunity inequality: a cardinality-based approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, vol. 15(2), pages 263-287.
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