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Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity

Author

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  • Andreas Peichl

    (ZEW, University of Mannheim, IZA and CESifo)

  • Martin Ungerer

    (ZEW and University of Cologne)

Abstract

The existing literature on inequality of opportunity (IOp) has not addressed the question of how the circumstances and choices of spouses in a couple should be treated. By omitting information relevant to the spouse in IOp estimations, the implicit assumption has been full responsibility for the spouse’s income, effort and circumstance variables. In this paper, we discuss whether or not the spouse’s characteristics should be treated as responsibility factors. Using German micro data, we analyze empirically, how IOp estimates are affected when a spouse’s circumstance or effort variables are included in the analysis. We find that including spousal variables can increase IOp measures by more than 20 (35) percent for gross (net) earnings. The less responsibility assumed for the partner’s variables, the higher the IOp estimate.

Suggested Citation

  • Andreas Peichl & Martin Ungerer, 2016. "Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(3), pages 607-631, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:sochwe:v:47:y:2016:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-0985-9
    DOI: 10.1007/s00355-016-0985-9
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    Cited by:

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    2. Paqué Karl-Heinz, 2016. "Der Wandel des Wachstums: Anmerkungen zur Dynamik von Wohlstand, Technologie und Verteilung aus Anlass von Robert J. Gordons Buch „The Rise and Fall of American Growth“," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 289-308, September.
    3. Ibragimova, Zulfiya & Frants, Marina, 2021. "Measuring income opportunity inequality: A structural review and meta-analysis," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 61, pages 89-109.
    4. Xavier Ramos & Dirk Van de gaer, 2021. "Is Inequality of Opportunity Robust to the Measurement Approach?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 67(1), pages 18-36, March.
    5. Kristof Bosmans & Z. Emel Öztürk, 2021. "Measurement of inequality of opportunity: A normative approach," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(2), pages 213-237, June.
    6. Karin Hederos & Markus Jäntti & Lena Lindahl, 2017. "Gender and inequality of opportunity in Sweden," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 605-635, December.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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