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Opportunities as chances: maximising the probability that everybody succeeds

  • Marco Mariotti


    (University of St Andrews)

  • Roberto Veneziani


    (Queen Mary University of London)

Opportunities in society are commonly interpreted as 'chances of success'. Within this interpretation, should opportunities be equalised? We show that a liberal principle of justice and a limited principle of social rationality imply that opportunity profiles should be evaluated by means of a 'Nash' criterion. The interpretation is new: the social objective should be to maximise the chance that everybody in society succeeds. In particular, the failure of even only one individual must be considered maximally detrimental. We also study a refinement of this criterion and its extension to problems of intergenerational justice. JEL Categories: D63, D70

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Paper provided by University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics in its series UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers with number 2012-09.

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Date of creation: Oct 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2012-09
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  13. Mariotti, Marco & Veneziani, Roberto, 2012. "Allocating chances of success in finite and infinite societies: The utilitarian criterion," Journal of Mathematical Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 226-236.
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  16. Marco Mariotti & Roberto Veneziani, 2009. "The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference," Working Papers 653, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
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