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Handbook of Income Distribution by Francois Bourguignon, Anthony B. Atkinson

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Chapter 4

Equality of Opportunity

John E. Roemer*; Alain Trannoy    * Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA Aix-Marseille University, EHESS and CNRS, France

Abstract

The modern formulation of equality of opportunity emerges from discussions in political philosophy from the second half of the twentieth century beginning with Rawls (1971) and Dworkin (1981a,b). Equality of opportunity exists when policies compensate individuals with disadvantageous circumstances so that outcomes experienced by a population depend only on factors for which persons can be considered to be responsible. Importantly, inequality of opportunity for income exists when individuals’ incomes are in some important part determined by the educational achievement and income ...

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