CFDP 1921

John E. Roemer and Alain Trannoy, “Equality of Opportunity” (October 2013) [111pp, abstract]


Abstract: 

This forthcoming chapter in the Handbook of Income Distribution (eds., A. Atkinson and F. Bourguignon) summarizes the literature on equality of opportunity. We begin by reviewing the philosophical debate concerning equality since Rawls (sections 1 and 2), present economic algorithms for computing policies which equalize opportunities, or, more generally, ways of ordering social policies with respect to their efficacy in opportunity equalization (sections 3, 4 and 5), apply the approach to the conceptualization of economic development (section 6), discuss dynamic issues (section 7), give a preamble to a discussion of empirical work (section 8), provide evidence of population views from surveys and experiments concerning conceptions of equality (section 9), and a discuss measurement issues, summarizing the empirical literature on inequality of opportunity to date (section 10). We conclude with mention of some critiques of the equal-opportunity approach, and some predictions (section 11).

Keywords: Equality of opportunity, Responsibility, Circumstances, Effort, Veil of ignorance

JEL Classification: D3, D6, D63, HO