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Opportunity-sensitive poverty measurement

  • Paolo Brunori

    (University of Bari)

  • Francisco Ferreira

    (World Bank and IZA)

  • Maria Ana Lugo

    (World Bank)

  • Vito Peragine

    (University of Bari)

We axiomatically characterize two classes of poverty measures which are sensitive to inequality of opportunity - one a strict subset of the other. The proposed indices are sensitive not only to income shortfalls from the poverty line, but also to differences in opportunities faced by people with different pre-determined characteristics, such as race or family background. Dominance conditions are established for each class of measures, and a sub-family of scalar indices, based on a rank-dependent aggregation of type-specific poverty levels, is also introduced. Using household survey data from eighteen European countries in 2005, we find substantial differences in country rankings based on standard FGT indices and on the new opportunity-sensitive indices. Cross-country differences in opportunity-sensitive poverty are decomposed into a level effect; a distribution effect; and a population composition effect.

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File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2013-317.pdf
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Paper provided by ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality in its series Working Papers with number 317.

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Length: 28 pages
Date of creation: Nov 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2013-317
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.ecineq.orgEmail:


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  1. John DiNardo & Nicole M. Fortin & Thomas Lemieux, 1995. "Labor Market Institutions and the Distribution of Wages, 1973-1992: A Semiparametric Approach," NBER Working Papers 5093, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Koen Decancq & Tim Goedemé & Karel Van den Bosch & Josefine Vanhille, 2013. "The Evolution of Poverty in the European Union: Concepts, Measurement and Data," ImPRovE Working Papers 13/01, Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy, University of Antwerp.
  3. Bourguignon, François & Ferreira, Francisco & Menéndez, Marta, 2007. "Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/1552, Paris Dauphine University.
  4. Chambaz, Christine & Maurin, Eric, 1998. "Atkinson and Bourguignon's Dominance Criteria: Extended and Applied to the Measurement of Poverty in France," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 44(4), pages 497-513, December.
  5. Marc Fleurbaey & Vito Peragine, 2009. "Ex ante versus ex post equality of opportunity," Working Papers 141, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  6. OOGHE, Erwin & SCHOKKAERT, Erik & VAN DE GAER, Dirk, . "Equality of opportunity versus equality of opportunity sets," CORE Discussion Papers RP -1960, Université catholique de Louvain, Center for Operations Research and Econometrics (CORE).
  7. 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.
  8. Vito Peragine, 2004. "Ranking Income Distributions According to Equality of Opportunity," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 2(1), pages 11-30, April.
  9. Foster, James & Greer, Joel & Thorbecke, Erik, 1984. "A Class of Decomposable Poverty Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 52(3), pages 761-66, May.
  10. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521887427 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Sen, Amartya K, 1976. "Poverty: An Ordinal Approach to Measurement," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 44(2), pages 219-31, March.
  12. Fleurbaey, Marc, 2008. "Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199215911, March.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521715348 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Arnaud LEFRANC, Nicolas PISTOLESI, Alain TRANNOY, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and luck: De nitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France," THEMA Working Papers 2009-01, THEMA (THéorie Economique, Modélisation et Applications), Université de Cergy-Pontoise.
  15. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
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