Equality of Opportunity for Well-Being

41 Pages Posted: 31 Aug 2017

See all articles by Daniel Mahler

Daniel Mahler

University of Copenhagen

Xavier Ramos

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

Abstract

A growing literature has tried to measure the extent to which individuals have equal opportunities to acquire income. At the same time, policy makers have doubled down on efforts to go beyond income when measuring well- being. We attempt to bridge these two areas by measuring the extent to which individuals have equal opportunities to achieve a high level of well-being. We use the German Socio-Economic Panel to measure well-being in four different ways including incomes. This makes it possible to determine if the way well-being is measured matters for identifying who the opportunity-deprived are and for tracking inequality of opportunity over time. We find that, regardless of how wellbeing is measured, the same people are opportunity-deprived and equality of opportunity has improved over the past 20 years. This suggests that going beyond income has little relevance if the objective is to provide equal opportunities.

Keywords: equality of opportunity, measurement, responsibility, effort, well-being

JEL Classification: D3, D63, I31

Suggested Citation

Mahler, Daniel and Ramos, Xavier, Equality of Opportunity for Well-Being. IZA Discussion Paper No. 10940. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3029811

Daniel Mahler (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen

Xavier Ramos

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona ( email )

Dept. Economia Aplicada
Campus UAB
Bellaterra, Barcelona 08193
Spain

Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA)

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

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