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Evidence for inequality of Opportunities. A Cohort analysis for Chile

Listed author(s):
  • Dante Contreras
  • Osvaldo Larragaña
  • Esteban Puentes
  • Tomás Rau

In this paper we estimate the impact of inequality of opportunity on inequality of income in the Chilean economy. We focus on the distribution of individual labor income. It is found that the share ofoverall inequality which is due to inequality of opportunities is relatively high in Chile, but the degree ofoverall inequality is lower than in other countries in the region. It is also found that father?s education isthe circumstance that contributes the most to inequality of income in Chile. This variable is likely to behighly correlated with parental household income, which is a key determinant in the formation of earlyhuman capital through its impact on nutrition, health and education. We also conduct a cohort analysisto study the impact of opportunities on labor income inequality in three groups of workers : those thatare 25-34, 35-44 and 45-54 years old. We found that overall inequality increases with the age of the cohortand that the absolute contribution of opportunity in income inequality also increases with the age of the cohort. That the share of opportunity in income inequality is particularly low in the youngest cohort,may be associated to a more even playing ?eld resulting from the introduction of opportunity equalizingpolicies in the last decades. Further evidence for this latter hypothesis is provided by decomposing thechange in inequality across cohorts based on changes on circumstance endowments and returns, basedon the methodology introduced by Juhn, Murphy and Pierce (1994).

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Paper provided by University of Chile, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number wp298.

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Date of creation: Oct 2009
Handle: RePEc:udc:wpaper:wp298
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