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Measuring Inequality of Opportunity through Between-Group Inequality Components


  • Abatemarco, Antonio

    (Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Statistiche - Universita di Salerno)


Opportunity egalitarians support rich-to-poor redistribution whenever this allows for the compensation of income disparities due to non-responsible choices (circum- stances). In this paper we investigate the measurement of opportunity inequality within Roemer's (1993) pragmatic theory where equally subgroup ranked individuals are assumed to be equally responsible. Given entropy-based, deprivation-based and welfaristic inequality decomposition procedures, we show that the between-group Gini index - obtained from the two-components decomposition (Dagum 1997) - is the only between-group inequality index satisfying the Pigou-Dalton principle of transfer as reformulated for opportunity egalitarianism.

Suggested Citation

  • Abatemarco, Antonio, 2008. "Measuring Inequality of Opportunity through Between-Group Inequality Components," IRISS Working Paper Series 2008-11, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
  • Handle: RePEc:irs:iriswp:2008-11

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Shorrocks, A F, 1980. "The Class of Additively Decomposable Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(3), pages 613-625, April.
    2. John Weymark, 2003. "Generalized Gini Indices of Equality of Opportunity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 1(1), pages 5-24, April.
    3. Frank A. Cowell, 1980. "On the Structure of Additive Inequality Measures," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 47(3), pages 521-531.
    4. Lambert, Peter J & Aronson, J Richard, 1993. "Inequality Decomposition Analysis and the Gini Coefficient Revisited," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 103(420), pages 1221-1227, September.
    5. Roemer, J.E., 1992. "A Pragmatic Theory of Responsibility for the Egalitarian Planner," Papers 391, California Davis - Institute of Governmental Affairs.
    6. Vito Peragine, 2004. "Ranking Income Distributions According to Equality of Opportunity," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 2(1), pages 11-30, April.
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    10. Charles Blackorby & David Donaldson & Maria Auersperg, 1981. "A New Procedure for the Measurement of Inequality within and among Population Subgroups," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 14(4), pages 665-685, November.
    11. Stéphane Mussard & Luc Savard, 2012. "The Gini multi-decomposition and the role of Gini's transvariation: application to partial trade liberalization in the Philippines," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 44(10), pages 1235-1249, April.
    12. Elbers, Chris & Lanjouw, Peter & Mistiaen, Johan A. & Ozler, Berk, 2005. "Re-interpreting sub-group inequality decompositions," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3687, The World Bank.
    13. Shlomo Yitzhaki, 1979. "Relative Deprivation and the Gini Coefficient," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 93(2), pages 321-324.
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    15. Serge-Christophe Kolm, 1977. "Multidimensional Egalitarianisms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 91(1), pages 1-13.
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    Cited by:

    1. Abatemarco, Antonio, 2016. "Doing rawls justice: Evidence from the PSID," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 10, pages 1-39.
    2. Philippe Van Kerm, 2013. "Generalized measures of wage differentials," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 45(1), pages 465-482, August.
    3. Stéphane Mussard, 2010. "Pair-Based Decomposable Inequality Measures," Working Papers 10-15, LAMETA, Universtiy of Montpellier, revised Nov 2010.
    4. Sohn, Christophe & Reitel, Bernard & Walther, Olivier, 2009. "Cross-border metropolitan integration in Europe (Luxembourg, Basel and Geneva)," IRISS Working Paper Series 2009-02, IRISS at CEPS/INSTEAD.
    5. Domenico Rossignoli, 2015. "Too many and too much? Special-interest groups and inequality at the turn of the century," Rivista Internazionale di Scienze Sociali, Vita e Pensiero, Pubblicazioni dell'Universita' Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, vol. 130(3), pages 337-366.

    More about this item


    inequality ; opportunity ; decomposition ; measurement;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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