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Equal opportunity in educational contexts: Comparing the feasibility of divergent conceptualizations


  • Kappius, Robert


For political advice towards equal opportunities in educational policy fields, different conceptualizations of the term coexist. While e.g. Roemer and Van de Gaer focused on outcome opportunities, but differed with respect to individual versus group perspective, other scholars like Sen and Thomson interpreted the norm to reflect equal initial choice sets, but differed in their interpretation of relevant choice alternatives. Normative content being partly delegated to political debate, those concepts still incorporate different framings for interpreting equality of opportunity and consequently trigger biased policies. To address this shortcoming, I propose a multidimensional scope of equal opportunity interpretations and distinguish feasibility issues of different perspectives toward equal opportunities in educational contexts. Contextual characteristics concerning elementary and vocational schooling as well as decentralized education are shown to enable more precise recommendations in terms of feasibility of equal opportunity concepts. Inclusion of divergent conceptualizations may thus prove helpful to overcome feasibility issues.

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  • Kappius, Robert, 2011. "Equal opportunity in educational contexts: Comparing the feasibility of divergent conceptualizations," The Constitutional Economics Network Working Papers 02-2011, University of Freiburg, Department of Economic Policy and Constitutional Economic Theory.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:cenwps:022011

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. François Maniquet, 2004. "On the equivalence between welfarism and equality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 23(1), pages 127-147, August.
    2. Aaberge, Rolf & Mogstad, Magne & Peragine, Vito, 2011. "Measuring long-term inequality of opportunity," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 95(3), pages 193-204.
    3. Kranich, Laurence, 1996. "Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 71(1), pages 131-147, October.
    4. Erwin Ooghe & Erik Schokkaert & Dirk gaer, 2007. "Equality of Opportunity versus Equality of Opportunity Sets," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 28(2), pages 209-230, February.
    5. Samuel Bowles & Glenn C. Loury & Rajiv Sethi, 2014. "Group Inequality," Journal of the European Economic Association, European Economic Association, vol. 12(1), pages 129-152, February.
    6. Dirk Van de gaer & Marc Fleurbaey & Walter Bossert, 1999. "Responsibility, talent, and compensation: A second-best analysis," Review of Economic Design, Springer;Society for Economic Design, vol. 4(1), pages 35-55.
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