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Inequality of opportunity and economic development

  • Ferreira, Francisco H. G.
  • Walton, Michael

Just as equality of opportunity becomes an increasingly prominent concept in normative economics, the authors argue that it is also a relevant concept for positive models of the links between distribution and aggregate efficiency. Persuasive microeconomic evidence suggests that inequalities in wealth, power, and status have efficiency costs. These variablescapture different aspects of people's opportunity sets, for which observed income may be a poor proxy. One implication is that the cross-country literature on income inequality and growth may have been barking up the wrong tree, and that alternative measures of the relevant distributions are needed. The authors review some of the detailed microeconomic evidence, and then suggest three research areas where further work is needed.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3816.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3816
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  1. Gignoux, Jérémie & Cogneau, Denis, 2009. "Earnings inequalities and educational mobility in Brazil over two decades," Economics Papers from University Paris Dauphine 123456789/4402, Paris Dauphine University.
  2. Atkinson, A-B, 1996. "Bringing Income Distribution in from the Cold," Economics Papers 117, Economics Group, Nuffield College, University of Oxford.
  3. Fernández, Raquel & Galí, Jordi, 1997. "To Each According To...? Markets, Tournaments, and the Matching Problem with Borrowing Constraints," CEPR Discussion Papers 1627, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  4. Christina Paxson & Norbert Schady, 2005. "Cognitive Development Among Young Children in Ecuador: The Roles of Wealth, Health and Parenting," Working Papers 239, Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Health and Wellbeing..
  5. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Esther Duflo, 2000. "Inequality and Growth: What Can the Data Say?," NBER Working Papers 7793, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Abhijit V. Banerjee & Paul J. Gertler & Maitreesh Ghatak, 2002. "Empowerment and Efficiency: Tenancy Reform in West Bengal," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 110(2), pages 239-280, April.
  7. Oded Galor & Joseph Zeira, 2013. "Income Distribution and Macroeconomics," Working Papers 2013-12, Brown University, Department of Economics.
  8. Emily Oster, 2005. "Hepatitis B and the Case of the Missing Women," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 113(6), pages 1163-1216, December.
  9. Donal O'Neill & Olive Sweetman & Dirk van de gaer, 1999. "Equiality of Opportunity and Kernel Density Estimation: An Application to Intergenerational Mobility," Economics, Finance and Accounting Department Working Paper Series n950999, Department of Economics, Finance and Accounting, National University of Ireland - Maynooth.
  10. Hongyi Li & Heng-fu Zou, 1998. "Income Inequality Is Not Harmful for Growth: Theory and Evidence," CEMA Working Papers 74, China Economics and Management Academy, Central University of Finance and Economics.
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