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Measuring Inequality of Opportunities

The principle of equal opportunity is conceptually very simple. The circumstances of a person at birth should not determine a person’s chances in life. In other words, the outcome of a person’s life—economically, socially, and politically—should reflect mostly his/her efforts and talents. A person’s background, predetermined characteristics (gender, race, place of birth, family socio-economic origins), and social group should not determine his or her outcome in life.

Although the concept is simple, measuring inequality of opportunities is much harder. Here, we are concerned with systematic differences in opportunities for individuals and/or groups who differ only on predetermined characteristics (race, gender, caste, etc). However, for which predetermined characteristics do we not want to see systematic differences in opportunities?

Speakers Discussants
John RoemerJohn Roemer Marc FleurbaeyMarc Fleurbaey
Vito PeragineVito Peragine Francisco FerreiraFrancisco Ferreira



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