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Equality of Opportunity: Definitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France

Author

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  • Arnaud Lefranc

    () (Robert Schuman CenterEuropean University Institute)

  • Nicolas Pistolesi

    () (THEMA, Université de Cergy-Pontoise)

  • Alain Trannoy

    () (EHESS, GREQAM IDEP)

Abstract

We offer a model of equality of opportunity that encompasses different conceptions expressed in the public debate. In addition to circumstances whose effect on outcome should be compensated and effort which represents a legitimate source of inequality, we introduce a third factor, luck, that captures the non-responsibility factors whose impact on outcome should be even-handed for equality of opportunity to be satisfied. Then, we analyse how the various definitions of equality of opportunity can be empirically identified, given data limitations and provide testable conditions. Definitions and conditions resort to standard stochastic dominance tools. Lastly, we develop an empirical analysis of equality of opportunity for income acquisition in France over the period 1979-2000 which reveals that the degree of inequality of opportunity tends to decrease and that the risk of social lotteries appears very similar across the different groups of social origin.

Suggested Citation

  • Arnaud Lefranc & Nicolas Pistolesi & Alain Trannoy, 2006. "Equality of Opportunity: Definitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France," THEMA Working Papers 2006-13, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  • Handle: RePEc:ema:worpap:2006-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Brigitte Dormont & Anne-Laure Samson, 2007. "Restrictions on the number of physicians and Intergenerational Inequalities : Experience, Time and Vintage effects in GPs’ earnings," Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers 07/11, HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York.
    2. Jacques Silber & Olivier Giovannoni & Amedeo Spadaro, 2007. "Inequality of Life Chances and the Measurement of Social Immobility," Economics Working Paper Archive wp_513, Levy Economics Institute.
    3. Juan Rodríguez, 2008. "Partial equality-of-opportunity orderings," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 31(3), pages 435-456, October.
    4. Aitor Calo, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and optimal effort decision under uncertainty," Working Papers. Serie AD 2009-12, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    5. Marrero, Gustavo A. & Rodríguez, Juan G., 2013. "Inequality of opportunity and growth," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 104(C), pages 107-122.
    6. Pedro Rosa Dias, 2010. "Modelling opportunity in health under partial observability of circumstances," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 19(3), pages 252-264.
    7. Peragine, Vito & Serlenga, Laura, 2007. "Higher Education and Equality of Opportunity in Italy," IZA Discussion Papers 3163, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    8. DEUTSCH Joseph & PI ALPERIN Maria Noel & SILBER Jacques, 2016. "Disentangling the impacts of circumstances and efforts on health inequality: the case of Luxembourg," LISER Working Paper Series 2016-07, LISER.
    9. Ashish Singh, 2010. "The Effect of Family Background on Individual Wages and an Examination of Inequality of Opportunity in India," Journal of Labor Research, Springer, vol. 31(3), pages 230-246, September.
    10. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2008. "Values, inequality and happiness," Temi di discussione (Economic working papers) 669, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    11. Claudia Biancotti & Giovanni D'Alessio, 2007. "Inequality and Happiness," Working Papers 75, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    12. Villar Notario Antonio & Calo-Blanco Aitor, 2009. "Education, Utilitarianism, and Equality of Opportunity," Working Papers 201051, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
    13. Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2007. "Partial and complete equality-of-opportunity orderings," Working Papers 70, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    14. Arnaud Lefranc, 2010. "Unequal Opportunities and Ethnic Origin: The Labor Market Outcomes of Second-Generation Immigrants in France," Post-Print hal-01648185, HAL.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Equality of Opportunity; Income distribution; Luck; Stochastic dominance;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • C14 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods and Methodology: General - - - Semiparametric and Nonparametric Methods: General

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