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The relationship between Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in a high-inequality country: The case of Chile

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  • Javier Núñez Errázuriz
  • Andrea Tartakowsky

Abstract

Based on the methodology developed by Bourguignon, Melendez and Ferreira (2005) we explore the extent to which income inequality in Chile is associated with inequality of observed exogenous circumstances of origin, which shape individuals “opportunities” to pursue their chosen life plans. We find that equalizing a diverse set of observed circumstances of origin across individuals such as parents’ schooling and employment, household size and composition, ethnic background and features of the municipality of origin reduces the Gini coefficient in about 7-8 percentage points. About half of this effect is transmitted directly on earnings, while the remaining part through its indirect effect on the accumulation of schooling. Further results suggest that the influence of unobserved circumstances on income distribution may be limited, and hence aspects such as preferences, effort, luck, income shocks and income measurement errors may also be important factors behind income inequality, issue that awaits further research.

Suggested Citation

  • Javier Núñez Errázuriz & Andrea Tartakowsky, 2009. "The relationship between Inequality of Outcomes and Inequality of Opportunities in a high-inequality country: The case of Chile," Working Papers wp292, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:udc:wpaper:wp292
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    File URL: http://www.econ.uchile.cl/uploads/publicacion/0efc3c4f-6437-4bc3-9dbd-0856df16ccaf.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Javier Núñez & Andrea Tartakowsky, 2007. "Inequality of outcomes vs. inequality of opportunities in a developing country. An exploratory analysis for Chile," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(2 Year 20), pages 185-202, December.
    2. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    3. Jaime Ruiz-Tagle, 2007. "Forecasting wage inequality," Estudios de Economia, University of Chile, Department of Economics, vol. 34(2 Year 20), pages 141-162, December.
    4. François Bourguignon & Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Marta Menéndez, 2007. "Inequality Of Opportunity In Brazil," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 53(4), pages 585-618, December.
    5. Javier Núñez E. & Leslie Miranda, 2007. "Recent Findings on Intergenerational Income and Educational Mobility in Chile," Working Papers wp244, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    6. Jere R. Behrman & Mark R. Rosenzweig, 2004. "Returns to Birthweight," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(2), pages 586-601, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Dante Contreras & Osvaldo Larrañaga & Esteban Puentes & Tomás Rau, 2012. "Inequality of Opportunities and Long Term Earnings Measures: Evidence for Chile," Working Papers wp352, University of Chile, Department of Economics.
    2. Osvaldo Larrañaga & Amanda Telias, 2010. "Inequality of Opportunities in the Educational Attainment of Chilean Students," Working Papers wp310, University of Chile, Department of Economics.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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