Equalization of Opportunity: Definitions, Implementable Conditions and Application to Early-Childhood Policy Evaluation.

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) Working Paper Series 2014-12

60 Pages Posted: 7 Jun 2015

See all articles by Andreoli Francesco

Andreoli Francesco

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER)

Tarjei Havnes

University of Oslo - Department of Economics

Arnaud Lefranc

Universite de Cergy-Pontoise

Date Written: November 18, 2014

Abstract

This paper develops a criterion to assess equalization of opportunity that is consistent with theoretical views of equality of opportunity. We characterize inequality of opportunity as a situation where some groups in society enjoy an unfair advantage. In this context, equalization of opportunity requires that the extent of the advantage enjoyed by the privileged groups falls. Robustness requires that this judgement be supported by the broadest class of individual preferences. We formalize this criterion in a decision theoretic framework, and derive an empirical condition for equalization of opportunity based on observed opportunity distributions. The criterion is used to assess the effectiveness of child care at equalizing opportunity among children, using quantile treatment effects estimates of a major child care reform in Norway. Overall, we find that the child care reform significantly equalized opportunity among Norwegian children.

Keywords: Equality of opportunity, public policy, inverse stochastic dominance, economic distance, income distribution, child care, pre-school

JEL Classification: D63, J62, C14, I24

Suggested Citation

Francesco, Andreoli and Havnes, Tarjei and Lefranc, Arnaud, Equalization of Opportunity: Definitions, Implementable Conditions and Application to Early-Childhood Policy Evaluation. (November 18, 2014). Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) Working Paper Series 2014-12, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2614951 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2614951

Andreoli Francesco (Contact Author)

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research (LISER) ( email )

11, Porte des Sciences
Campus Belval – Maison des Sciences Humaines
Esch-sur-Alzette, L-4366
Luxembourg

HOME PAGE: http://www.liser.lu

Tarjei Havnes

University of Oslo - Department of Economics ( email )

P.O. Box 1095 Blindern
N-0317 Oslo
Norway

HOME PAGE: http://www.sv.uio.no/econ/english/people/aca/tarjeiha/index.html

Arnaud Lefranc

Universite de Cergy-Pontoise ( email )

33 Boulevard du Port
Cergy-Pontoise Cedex, Cedex 95011
France

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