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Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Equality of Opportunity

  • Marc Fleurbaey
  • Vito Peragine

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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Article provided by London School of Economics and Political Science in its journal Economica.

Volume (Year): 80 (2013)
Issue (Month): 317 (01)
Pages: 118-130

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Handle: RePEc:bla:econom:v:80:y:2013:i:317:p:118-130
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  1. Fleurbaey Marc, 1995. "Three Solutions for the Compensation Problem," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 505-521, April.
  2. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591, March.
  3. Kranich, L., 1993. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Papers 3-93-1, Pennsylvania State - Department of Economics.
  4. 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.
  5. 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).
  6. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
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