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Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence

Author

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  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira

    () (World Bank and IZA)

  • Vito Peragine

    () (Università degli Studi di Bari)

Abstract

Building on earlier work by political philosophers, economists have recently sought to define a concept of equity that accommodates the fairness of reward to individual responsibility and effort, while allowing for the existence of some inequalities which are unfair and should be compensated. This paper – commissioned as a chapter for the Oxford Handbook of Well Being and Public Policy – provides a critical review of the economic literature on equality and inequality of opportunity. A simple ‘canonical model’ of equal opportunity is proposed, and used to explore the two fundamental concepts in this (relatively) new theory of social justice: the principles of compensation and reward. Ex-ante and ex-post versions of the compensation principle are presented, and the tensions between them are discussed. Different approaches to the measurement of inequality of opportunity - and empirical applications - are reviewed, and implications for the measurement of poverty and of the rate of economic development are discussed

Suggested Citation

  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Vito Peragine, 2015. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence," Working papers 27, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
  • Handle: RePEc:ipu:wpaper:27
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Hufe, Paul & Peichl, Andreas, 2016. "Beyond equal rights: Equality of opportunity in political participation," ZEW Discussion Papers 16-068, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    2. Andreas Peichl & Martin Ungerer, 2016. "Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(3), pages 607-631, October.
    3. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-017-1044-x is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Brunori Paolo & Palmisano Flaviana & Peragine Vito, 2015. "Inequality of Opportunity During the Great Recession in Uganda," WIDER Working Paper Series 039, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    5. Audrey VERDIER-CHOUCHANE, 2016. "Women In Inclusive Development: An Overview," Region et Developpement, Region et Developpement, LEAD, Universite du Sud - Toulon Var, vol. 44, pages 43-60.
    6. Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl & John Roemer & Martin Ungerer, 2017. "Inequality of income acquisition: the role of childhood circumstances," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 499-544, December.
    7. Jeffrey Zax, 2016. "Provincial valuations of human capital in urban China, inter-regional inequality and the implicit value of a Guangdong hukou," ERSA conference papers ersa16p693, European Regional Science Association.
    8. repec:gam:jscscx:v:6:y:2017:i:4:p:147-:d:121568 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    equality of opportunity; inequality of opportunity; compensation; reward;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • I32 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Measurement and Analysis of Poverty

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