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Equality of Opportunity

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Abstract

This forthcoming chapter in the Handbook of Income Distribution (eds., A. Atkinson and F. Bourguignon) summarizes the literature on equality of opportunity. We begin by reviewing the philosophical debate concerning equality since Rawls (sections 1 and 2), present economic algorithms for computing policies which equalize opportunities, or, more generally, ways of ordering social policies with respect to their efficacy in opportunity equalization (sections 3, 4 and 5), apply the approach to the conceptualization of economic development (section 6), discuss dynamic issues (section 7), give a preamble to a discussion of empirical work (section 8), provide evidence of population views from surveys and experiments concerning conceptions of equality (section 9), and a discuss measurement issues, summarizing the empirical literature on inequality of opportunity to date (section 10). We conclude with mention of some critiques of the equal-opportunity approach, and some predictions (section 11).

Suggested Citation

  • John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Equality of Opportunity," Cowles Foundation Discussion Papers 1921, Cowles Foundation for Research in Economics, Yale University.
  • Handle: RePEc:cwl:cwldpp:1921
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    1. X. Ramos & D. Van De Gaer, 2012. "Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence," Working Papers of Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Ghent University, Belgium 12/792, Ghent University, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration.
    2. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2013. "Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil: A Corrigendum," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 59(3), pages 551-555, September.
    3. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
    4. Alexander W. Cappelen & James Konow & Erik ?. S?rensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2013. "Just Luck: An Experimental Study of Risk-Taking and Fairness," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(4), pages 1398-1413, June.
    5. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
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    7. Aaberge, Rolf & Mogstad, Magne & Peragine, Vito, 2011. "Measuring long-term inequality of opportunity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 193-204.
    8. Florence Jusot & Sandy Tubeuf & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Circumstances And Efforts: How Important Is Their Correlation For The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity In Health?," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 22(12), pages 1470-1495, December.
    9. Alexander W. Cappelen & Astri Drange Hole & Erik Ø Sørensen & Bertil Tungodden, 2007. "The Pluralism of Fairness Ideals: An Experimental Approach," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(3), pages 818-827, June.
    10. Dolan, Paul & Tsuchiya, Aki, 2009. "The social welfare function and individual responsibility: Some theoretical issues and empirical evidence," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 210-220, January.
    11. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
    12. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2012. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199653591.
    13. Francisco Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux & Meltem Aran, 2011. "Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data: the case of Turkey," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 9(4), pages 651-680, December.
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    15. Frédéric Chantreuil & Alain Trannoy, 2013. "Inequality decomposition values: the trade-off between marginality and efficiency," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 83-98, March.
    16. Olivier Bargain & André Decoster & Mathias Dolls & Dirk Neumann & Andreas Peichl & Sebastian Siegloch, 2013. "Welfare, labor supply and heterogeneous preferences: evidence for Europe and the US," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 41(4), pages 789-817, October.
    17. Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf, 2017. "Inequality of Opportunity in Health and the Principle of Natural Reward: evidence from European Countries," Working Papers hal-01523949, HAL.
    18. Fleurbaey, Marc & Schokkaert, Erik, 2009. "Unfair inequalities in health and health care," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 73-90, January.
    19. Caterina Calsamiglia, 2009. "Decentralizing Equality Of Opportunity," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 50(1), pages 273-290, February.
    20. Almås, Ingvild & Cappelen, Alexander W. & Lind, Jo Thori & Sørensen, Erik Ø. & Tungodden, Bertil, 2011. "Measuring unfair (in)equality," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(7), pages 488-499.
    21. James Konow, 2000. "Fair Shares: Accountability and Cognitive Dissonance in Allocation Decisions," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(4), pages 1072-1091, September.
    22. 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.
    23. Wulf Gaertner & Lars Schwettmann, 2007. "Equity, Responsibility and the Cultural Dimension," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 74(296), pages 627-649, November.
    24. Peragine, Vito & Serlenga, Laura, 2007. "Higher Education and Equality of Opportunity in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 3163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    25. Schokkaert, Erik & Capeau, Bart, 1991. "Interindividual Differences in Opinions about Distributive Justice," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44(3), pages 325-345.
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    27. Elisha A. Pazner & David Schmeidler, 1978. "Egalitarian Equivalent Allocations: A New Concept of Economic Equity," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 92(4), pages 671-687.
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    29. Giuseppe Pignataro, 2012. "Equality Of Opportunity: Policy And Measurement Paradigms," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 26(5), pages 800-834, December.
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    32. Kurt Devooght, 2008. "To Each the Same and to Each his Own: A Proposal to Measure Responsibility-Sensitive Income Inequality," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 75(298), pages 280-295, May.
    33. Foster, James E. & Shneyerov, Artyom A., 2000. "Path Independent Inequality Measures," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 91(2), pages 199-222, April.
    34. Damien Bricard & Florence Jusot & Alain Trannoy & Sandy Tubeuf, 2013. "Inequality of Opportunities in Health and the Principle of Natural Reward: Evidence from European Countries," Post-Print hal-01499643, HAL.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Equality of opportunity; Responsibility; Circumstances; Effort; Veil of ignorance;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D6 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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