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Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement

Author

Listed:
  • 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 - ECM - École Centrale de Marseille - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique - AMU - Aix Marseille Université - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales)

Abstract

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).
(This abstract was borrowed from another version of this item.)

Suggested Citation

  • John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Post-Print hal-01446191, HAL.
  • 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
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Economie quantitative;

    JEL classification:

    • C43 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Econometric and Statistical Methods: Special Topics - - - Index Numbers and Aggregation
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D70 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - General
    • I24 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Education - - - Education and Inequality

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