Inequality of opportunity is the biggest social problem that is hurting most children in the developing world. Inequality of opportunity, the state of not being equal, especially in status, rights, and opportunities. Distinctions between inequality of opportunity and inequality of outcomes do not hold water in practice, and we are likely to greatly underestimate inequality of opportunity. Inequality of opportunity theory focuses only on the circumstances beyond one’s control that affect one’s potential outcomes. Inequality of opportunity results from poverty, caste, religion, stratification, and the culture of poverty. It is generally acknowledged in the inequality of opportunity literature that circumstances beyond an individual’s control are easier to measure than effort, which is typically private information that is difficult to capture in survey data (Roemer and Trannoy, 2014).
All types of inequality of opportunity which includes gender inequality, economic circumstances, geography, and even ethnicity can trap large groups of people in poverty. We cannot have equality of opportunity without equality of condition. Inequality of condition, like soft discrimination, hurts throughout a child's life. Social Inequality is found in virtually all social processes. The American ideal has been to provide equality of opportunity, whereas the European Social Democracy seeks equality of outcome. It is quite difficult to measure inequality of opportunity.
Inequality of opportunity lies at the very heart of discussions about inequality and social welfare. Inequality of opportunity occurs when people living in the same society do not have access to the same opportunities. Research has also shown how high and rising income inequality drives an inequality of opportunity for subsequent generations.
Inequality of opportunity in in terms of education, jobs and income remains higher than in western Europe, but is lower than in Brazil, India and the United States of America. Parental background is the most important determinant of inequality of opportunity across the region, followed by gender. Inequality of opportunity is higher in terms of getting a good job than it is in terms of getting a job. In countries where inequality of opportunity is high, people express less support for market economics and democracy.
Inequality of opportunity are part of discussions about inequality and social welfare. High levels of inequality of opportunity mean that people’s circumstances at birth, their gender, the place where they were born, their ethnicity or their parental background, determine to a significant degree the educational qualifications they obtain, the type of job they get and, ultimately, their level of earnings. Inequality of opportunity prevents people from making the best use of their skills or realising their entrepreneurial ideas.
Inequality of opportunity prevents people from making the best use of their
skills or realising their entrepreneurial ideas. The adverse impact of
inequality of opportunity may be even greater where, in times of fast
technological change, whole sections of the population are unable to acquire the
new skills needed. Above all, high levels of inequality of opportunity in
society are associated with lower levels of support for the market economy and
The concept of equality of opportunity is rooted in a Rawlsian philosophical tradition whereby people are expected to construct society in such a way that they would be happy for their place in society to be determined by a random draw.
Higher inequality of opportunity tends to persist in the presence of unequal access to education, labor markets segregated into insiders and outsiders, and financial markets that favor the better-off. Inequality of opportunity is central to explaining the relationship between inequality and growth.
Countries with high levels
of inequality of opportunity also tend to have high levels of income inequality.
In particular, in Germany and several SEE countries, estimated inequality of
opportunity is low relative to the Gini coefficient for income inequality.
There are no cases where a country with high levels of inequality of opportunity enjoys moderate or low levels of income inequality. In contrast, there are a few rare instances where inequality of opportunity is relatively low, but income inequality is still high.
Levels of inequality of opportunity in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) region are moderate on average. They are much lower than in other emerging economies and the USA, but they are still higher than in western Europe. Countries with higher levels of inequality of opportunity also have high levels of income inequality.
Modest levels of inequality of opportunity among wage earners may conceal high barriers preventing entry to formal employment for certain groups of people. Inequality of opportunity in terms of getting a job in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) region is higher than in western Europe, and similar to the inequality of opportunity observed in terms of income.
From the perspective of an unemployed person, inequality of opportunity in terms of income looms much larger owing to the limited opportunities to overcome that first obstacle and get a job. Inequality of opportunity in terms of getting a good job is significantly higher than inequality of opportunity in terms of getting a job in general.
Inequality of opportunity in Europe before and after
the Great Recession
Abstract: This paper is a follow-up to Marrero and Rodríguez (2012), who estimated the inequality of opportunity in Europe in 2005. We use the EU-SILC 2005 and 2011 databases to compare the inequality of opportunity in 23 European countries before and after the Great Recession. The parametric procedure of Ferreira and Gignoux (2011) is used to measure inequality of opportunity.
Results show that between 2004 and 2010 both absolute and relative inequality of opportunity increased in Belgium and Slovakia, while decreased in Portugal and Lithuania. In addition, relative inequality of opportunity rose in Austria, Hungary and Greece. In recent years, the inequality of opportunity concept has become a subject of very intensive theoretical and empirical developments in the economic literature. In contrast to the traditional concept of inequality of outcomes, that is, incomes, consumption or wealth, inequality of opportunity aims at separating the impact of circumstances and effort on individual outcomes (Roemer 1993, 1998).
Inequality of opportunity in comparative perspective: Recent Research on Educational Attainment and Social Mobility
- Richard Breen and Jan O. Jonsson.
We review research published since 1990 into educational stratification and occupational or class social mobility, focusing on the importance of parental socioeconomic circumstances, and with particular emphasis on comparative studies. Large-scale data now available from many countries and several time points have led to more and better descriptions of inequality of opportunity across countries and over time.
In American political discourse, a distinction is often made between inequality of condition and inequality of opportunity. In terms of scientific work, progress has been made on the study of inequality of condition than on the study of inequality of opportunity. This paper proposes an approach to defining and measuring inequality of opportunity that avoids many of the problems found in previous research. It is important to measure inequality of opportunity at both the individual and group levels. Measuring opportunity - KRYMKOWSKI Daniel H.- Mathematical Sociology in Japan and America.
INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITIES VS. INEQUALITY OF OUTCOMES: ARE WESTERN
SOCIETIES ALL ALIKE?
Arnaud Lefranc Nicolas Pistolesi Alain Trannoy.
Abstract: This paper analyzes the relationship between income inequality and inequality of opportunities for income acquisition in nine developed countries during the 1990s. The U.S. and Italy show up as the most unequal countries in terms of both outcome and opportunity. At the opposite extreme, income distributions conditional on social origin are almost the same in Scandinavian countries even before any redistributive policy. We complement the ordinal comparison by resorting to an original scalar “Gini” index of opportunities, which can be decomposed into a risk and a return component. In our sample, inequality of opportunity is mostly driven by differences in mean income conditional on social origin, and differences in risk compensate the return element in most countries.
Inequality of Opportunity in Wages and Consumption in Egypt
Ragui Assaad, Caroline Krafft, John Roemer, and Djavad Salehi-Isfahani.
Abstract: Most explanations of the recent political upheavals in Egypt since 2011 include a reference to rising inequality, but the usual indicators of income inequality in Egypt do not support that inequality was on the rise prior to the uprisings. In this paper we provide measures of inequality of opportunity in wages and consumption for Egypt at different points in time from 1988 to 2012 that shed light on the gap between popular perceptions and measured indices of inequality.