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Equal opportunity in educational contexts: Comparing the feasibility of divergent conceptualizations

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  • Kappius, Robert
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    Abstract

    For political advice towards equal opportunities in educational policy fields, different conceptualizations of the term coexist. While e.g. Roemer and Van de Gaer focused on outcome opportunities, but differed with respect to individual versus group perspective, other scholars like Sen and Thomson interpreted the norm to reflect equal initial choice sets, but differed in their interpretation of relevant choice alternatives. Normative content being partly delegated to political debate, those concepts still incorporate different framings for interpreting equality of opportunity and consequently trigger biased policies. To address this shortcoming, I propose a multidimensional scope of equal opportunity interpretations and distinguish feasibility issues of different perspectives toward equal opportunities in educational contexts. Contextual characteristics concerning elementary and vocational schooling as well as decentralized education are shown to enable more precise recommendations in terms of feasibility of equal opportunity concepts. Inclusion of divergent conceptualizations may thus prove helpful to overcome feasibility issues. --

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    Paper provided by University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory in its series The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers with number 02-2011.

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    Date of creation: 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:zbw:cenwps:022011

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    1. Rolf Aaberge & Magne Mogstad & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Measuring long-term inequality of opportunity," Discussion Papers, Research Department of Statistics Norway 620, Research Department of Statistics Norway.
    2. François Maniquet, 2004. "On the equivalence between welfarism and equality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer, Springer, vol. 23(1), pages 127-147, 08.
    3. Samuel Bowles & Glenn C. Loury & Rajiv Sethi, 2014. "Group Inequality," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 129-152, 02.
    4. Erwin Ooghe & Erik Schokkaert & Dirk Van de Gaer, 2003. "Equality of opportunity versus equality of opportunity sets," Public Economics Working Paper Series, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics wpeoeos, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Centrum voor Economische Studiën, Working Group Public Economics.
    5. Kranich, Laurence, 1996. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 131-147, October.
    6. Dirk Van de gaer & Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1999. "Responsibility, talent, and compensation: A second-best analysis," Review of Economic Design, Springer, Springer, vol. 4(1), pages 35-55.
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