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Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement

Listed author(s):
  • John E. Roemer

    (Yale University [New Haven])

  • Alain Trannoy

    ()

    (EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales, GREQAM - Groupement de Recherche en Économie Quantitative d'Aix-Marseille - Université de la Méditerranée - Aix-Marseille 2 - Université Paul Cézanne - Aix-Marseille 3 - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - ECM - Ecole Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

During the last third of the twentieth century, political philosophers actively debated about the content of distributive justice; the ruling ethical view of utilitarianism was challenged by various versions of equality of opportunities. Economists formulated several ways of modeling these ideas, focusing upon how individuals are placed with respect to opportunities for achieving various outcomes, and what compensation is due to individuals with truncated opportunities. After presenting a review of the main philosophical ideas (section 2), we turn to economic models (sections 3 and 4). We propose a reformulation of the definition of economic development, replacing the utilitarian measure of GDP per capita with a measure of the degree to which opportunities for income acquisition in a nation have been equalized. Finally, we discuss issues that the econometrician faces in measuring inequality of opportunity, briefly review the empirical literature (section 6), and conclude (section 7).

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Paper provided by HAL in its series Post-Print with number hal-01446191.

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Date of creation: Dec 2016
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economic Literature, 2016, 54 (4), pp.1288--1332. <10.1257/jel.20151206>
Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01446191
DOI: 10.1257/jel.20151206
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-amu.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01446191
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/

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