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The perception of inequality of opportunity in Europe

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  • Paolo Brunori

    () (Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro")

Abstract

Does the way scholars measure inequality of opportunity correspond to how people perceive it? What other factors influence individual perception of this phenomenon? To answer these questions we must first clarify how scholars define and measure inequality of opportunity. We discuss the possible mechanisms linking objective measures to subjective perception of the phenomenon, then propose a measure of perceived inequality of opportunity, and finally test our hypothesis by merging data coming from two sources: the European Union Statistics on Income and Living Conditions (2011) and the International Social Survey Programme (2009). We suggest that the prevailing perception of the degree of unequal opportunity in a large sample of respondents is only weakly correlated with its objective measure. We estimate a multilevel model considering both individual and country level controls to explain individual perception of unequal opportunity. Our estimates suggest that the two most adopted measures of inequality of opportunity have not clear role in explaining its perception. Conversely, other country level variables and personal experiences of intergenerational social mobility are important determinants of how inequality of opportunity is perceived.

Suggested Citation

  • Paolo Brunori, 2016. "The perception of inequality of opportunity in Europe," SERIES 04-2016, Dipartimento di Economia e Finanza - Università degli Studi di Bari "Aldo Moro", revised Jun 2016.
  • Handle: RePEc:bai:series:series_wp_04-2016
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhn, Andreas, 2019. "The subversive nature of inequality: Subjective inequality perceptions and attitudes to social inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 331-344.
    2. European Commission, 2017. "Tax Policies in the European Union: 2017 Survey," Taxation Survey 2017, Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union, European Commission.
    3. Rafael Carranza, 2020. "Upper and lower bound estimates of inequality of opportunity: A cross-national comparison for Europe," Working Papers 511, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    4. Alexander Ugarov, 2019. "Talent Misallocation across Countries: Evidence from Educational Achievement Tests," 2019 Meeting Papers 1466, Society for Economic Dynamics.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality of opportunity; inequality perception; intergenerational mobility; attribution theory;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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