Equality of Opportunity

112 Pages Posted: 27 Oct 2013

See all articles by John E. Roemer

John E. Roemer

Yale University - Department of Political Science; Yale University - Cowles Foundation

Alain Trannoy

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Date Written: October 25, 2013


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

Suggested Citation

Roemer, John E. and Trannoy, Alain, Equality of Opportunity (October 25, 2013). Cowles Foundation Discussion Paper No. 1921, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2345357

John E. Roemer (Contact Author)

Yale University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Box 208269
New Haven, DC 06520-8269
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HOME PAGE: http://pantheon.yale.edu/~jer39/

Yale University - Cowles Foundation

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New Haven, CT 06520-8281
United States

Alain Trannoy

National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) - Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) ( email )

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Paris, 75006