IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/zbw/zewdip/20013.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

The evolution of inequality of opportunity in Germany: A machine learning approach

Author

Listed:
  • Brunori, Paolo
  • Neidhöfer, Guido

Abstract

We show that measures of inequality of opportunity (IOP) fully consistent with Roemer (1998)'s IOP theory can be straightforwardly estimated by adopting a machine learning approach, and apply our novel method to analyse the development of IOP in Germany during the last three decades. Hereby, we take advantage of information contained in 25 waves of the Socio-Economic Panel. Our analysis shows that in Germany IOP declined immediately after reunification, increased in the first decade of the century, and slightly declined again after 2010. Over the entire period, at the top of the distribution we always find individuals that resided in West-Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall, whose fathers had a high occupational position, and whose mothers had a high educational degree. East-German residents in 1989, with low educated parents, persistently qualify at the bottom.

Suggested Citation

  • Brunori, Paolo & Neidhöfer, Guido, 2020. "The evolution of inequality of opportunity in Germany: A machine learning approach," ZEW Discussion Papers 20-013, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:20013
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: https://www.econstor.eu/bitstream/10419/215672/1/dp20013.pdf
    Download Restriction: no
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Alexandre Leblanc, 2012. "On estimating distribution functions using Bernstein polynomials," Annals of the Institute of Statistical Mathematics, Springer;The Institute of Statistical Mathematics, vol. 64(5), pages 919-943, October.
    2. Daniele Checchi & Vito Peragine, 2010. "Inequality of opportunity in Italy," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 8(4), pages 429-450, December.
    3. Marc Fleurbaey & Vito Peragine, 2013. "Ex Ante Versus Ex Post Equality of Opportunity," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 80(317), pages 118-130, January.
    4. Cowell, Frank A & Victoria-Feser, Maria-Pia, 1996. "Robustness Properties of Inequality Measures," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 64(1), pages 77-101, January.
    5. Olivier Bargain & Tim Callan & Karina Doorley & Claire Keane, 2017. "Changes in Income Distributions and the Role of Tax‐Benefit Policy During the Great Recession: An International Perspective," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 38, pages 559-585, December.
    6. Judith Niehues & Andreas Peichl, 2014. "Upper bounds of inequality of opportunity: theory and evidence for Germany and the US," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 43(1), pages 73-99, June.
    7. Andreas Peichl & Nico Pestel & Hilmar Schneider, 2012. "Does Size Matter? The Impact Of Changes In Household Structure On Income Distribution In Germany," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(1), pages 118-141, March.
    8. Paolo Brunori & Paul Hufe & Daniel Gerszon Mahler, 2017. "The Roots of Inequality: Estimating Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees," Working Papers - Economics wp2017_18.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    9. Robin Jessen, 2019. "Why has Income Inequality in Germany Increased From 2002 to 2011? A Behavioral Microsimulation Decomposition," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 65(3), pages 540-560, September.
    10. Goebel Jan & Grabka Markus M. & Liebig Stefan & Kroh Martin & Richter David & Schröder Carsten & Schupp Jürgen, 2019. "The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP)," Journal of Economics and Statistics (Jahrbuecher fuer Nationaloekonomie und Statistik), De Gruyter, vol. 239(2), pages 345-360, April.
    11. Andreas Peichl & Martin Ungerer, 2017. "Equality Of Opportunity: East Vs. West Germany," Bulletin of Economic Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 69(4), pages 421-427, October.
    12. Nicola Fuchs-Schuendeln & Dirk Krueger & Mathias Sommer, 2010. "Inequality Trends for Germany in the Last Two Decades: A Tale of Two Countries," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 13(1), pages 103-132, January.
    13. Annabelle Krause & Ulf Rinne & Simone Schüller, 2015. "Kick It Like Özil? Decomposing the Native-Migrant Education Gap," International Migration Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 49(3), pages 757-789, September.
    14. Martin Biewen & Andos Juhasz, 2012. "Understanding Rising Income Inequality in Germany, 1999/2000–2005/2006," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(4), pages 622-647, December.
    15. Paolo Brunori & Vito Peragine & Laura Serlenga, 2019. "Upward and downward bias when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 52(4), pages 635-661, April.
    16. Lefranc, Arnaud & Pistolesi, Nicolas & Trannoy, Alain, 2009. "Equality of opportunity and luck: Definitions and testable conditions, with an application to income in France," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(11-12), pages 1189-1207, December.
    17. Francisco H. G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement Of Inequality Of Opportunity: Theory And An Application To Latin America," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 57(4), pages 622-657, December.
    18. Francisco H.G. Ferreira & Jérémie Gignoux, 2011. "The Measurement of Inequality of Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and an Application to Latin America," PSE-Ecole d'économie de Paris (Postprint) halshs-00754503, HAL.
    19. Christian Dustmann & Johannes Ludsteck & Uta Schönberg, 2009. "Revisiting the German Wage Structure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 124(2), pages 843-881.
    20. Paolo Li Donni & Juan Rodríguez & Pedro Rosa Dias, 2015. "Empirical definition of social types in the analysis of inequality of opportunity: a latent classes approach," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 44(3), pages 673-701, March.
    21. Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2012. "Inequality of Opportunity in Europe," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 58(4), pages 597-621, December.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Leonardo Gasparini & Irene Brambilla & Andrés César & Guillermo Falcone & Carlo Lombardo, 2020. "The Risk of Automation in Argentina," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0260, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    2. Paolo Brunori & Paul Hufe & Daniel Gerszon Mahler, 2017. "The Roots of Inequality: Estimating Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees," Working Papers - Economics wp2017_18.rdf, Universita' degli Studi di Firenze, Dipartimento di Scienze per l'Economia e l'Impresa.
    3. Paolo Brunori & Vito Peragine & Laura Serlenga, 2019. "Upward and downward bias when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 52(4), pages 635-661, April.
    4. Juan C. Palomino & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan G. Rodríguez, 2019. "Channels of Inequality of Opportunity: The Role of Education and Occupation in Europe," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 143(3), pages 1045-1074, June.
    5. Dai, Xinchen & Li, Jing, 2021. "Inequality of opportunity in China: Evidence from pseudo panel data," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 68(C).
    6. Ferreira, Francisco H. G. & Peragine, Vito, 2015. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 8994, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Ana Suárez Álvarez & Ana Jesús López Menéndez, 2018. "Assessing Changes Over Time in Inequality of Opportunity: The Case of Spain," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 989-1014, October.
    8. Niehues, Judith & Peichl, Andreas, 2011. "Lower and Upper Bounds of Unfair Inequality: Theory and Evidence for Germany and the US," IZA Discussion Papers 5834, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    9. Davillas, Apostolos & Jones, Andrew M, 2020. "Ex ante inequality of opportunity in health, decomposition and distributional analysis of biomarkers," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(C).
    10. Leopoldo Cabrera & Gustavo A. Marrero & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez & Pedro Salas-Rojo, 2021. "Inequality of Opportunity in Spain: New Insights from New Data," Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, IEF, vol. 237(2), pages 153-185, June.
    11. Vincenzo Carrieri & Apostolos Davillas & Andrew M. Jones, 2020. "A latent class approach to inequity in health using biomarker data," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 29(7), pages 808-826, July.
    12. Xavier Ramos & Dirk Van de gaer, 2021. "Is Inequality of Opportunity Robust to the Measurement Approach?," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 67(1), pages 18-36, March.
    13. Ana Suárez Álvarez & Ana Jesús López Menéndez, 2016. "Inequality of opportunity and income inequality in Spain: An analysis over time," Working Papers 423, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    14. Pedro Salas-Rojo & Juan Gabriel Rodríguez, 2019. "The distribution of wealth in the U.S. and Spain: the role of socio-economic factors," Working Papers 506, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
    15. Andreas Peichl & Martin Ungerer, 2016. "Accounting for the spouse when measuring inequality of opportunity," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 47(3), pages 607-631, October.
    16. John E. Roemer & Alain Trannoy, 2016. "Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 54(4), pages 1288-1332, December.
    17. Vito Peragine & Federico Biagi, 2019. "Equality of opportunity: theory, measurement and policy implications," JRC Working Papers JRC118542, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    18. Brunori, Paolo & Hufe, Paul & Mahler, Daniel Gerszon, 2021. "The Roots of Inequality: Estimating Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees and Forests," IZA Discussion Papers 14689, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    19. Song, Yang & Zhou, Guangsu, 2019. "Inequality of opportunity and household education expenditures: Evidence from panel data in China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(C), pages 85-98.
    20. Dirk Van de gaer & Xavier Ramos, 2020. "Measurement of inequality of opportunity based on counterfactuals," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 55(3), pages 595-627, October.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Inequality; Opportunity; SOEP; Germany;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D30 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - General
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:zbw:zewdip:20013. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: . General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zemande.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/zemande.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.