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Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity

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  • Peichl, Andreas
  • Ungerer, Martin

Abstract

Existing literature on inequality of opportunity (IOp) has failed to address the question as to how the circumstances and choices of spouses in a couple should be treated. By omitting information relevant to the spouse in IOp estimations, the implicit assumption was full responsibility for the partner's income, effort and circumstance variables. In this paper, we discuss whether or not the partner's characteristics should be treated as responsibility factors. Using German micro data, we analyze empirically, how IOp estimates are affected when a partner's circumstance or effort variables are included as own circumstances in the analysis. Our analysis indicates that including spouse's variables can increase IOp measures by more than 20 (35) percent for gross (net) earnings. The less the responsibility assumed for the partner's variables, the higher the IOp estimate.

Suggested Citation

  • Peichl, Andreas & Ungerer, Martin, 2015. "Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity," ZEW Discussion Papers 15-034, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:15034
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Ibragimova, Zulfiya & Frants, Marina, 2021. "Measuring income opportunity inequality: A structural review and meta-analysis," Applied Econometrics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), vol. 61, pages 89-109.
    2. Paqué Karl-Heinz, 2016. "Der Wandel des Wachstums: Anmerkungen zur Dynamik von Wohlstand, Technologie und Verteilung aus Anlass von Robert J. Gordons Buch „The Rise and Fall of American Growth“," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 17(3), pages 289-308, September.
    3. Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl & Daniel Weishaar, 2019. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Inequality of Opportunity in Emerging Economies," ifo Working Paper Series 301, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. Karin Hederos & Markus Jäntti & Lena Lindahl, 2017. "Gender and inequality of opportunity in Sweden," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 605-635, December.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Equality of Opportunity; Earnings Inequality; Couple; Family Background; Assortative Mating;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion
    • J7 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination

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