Lower and upper bound estimates of inequality of opportunity for emerging economies


Equality of opportunity is an important normative ideal of distributive justice. In spite of its wide acceptance and economic relevance, standard estimation approaches suffer from data limitations that can lead to both downward and upward biased estimates of inequality of opportunity. These shortcomings may be particularly pronounced for emerging economies in which comprehensive household survey data of sufficient sample size is often unavailable. In this paper, we assess the extent of upward and downward bias in inequality of opportunity estimates for a set of twelve emerging economies. Our findings suggest strongly downward biased estimates of inequality of opportunity in these countries. To the contrary, there is little scope for upward bias. By bounding inequality of opportunity from above, we address recent critiques that worry about the prevalence of downward biased estimates and the ensuing possibility to downplay the normative significance of inequality.

Social Choice and Welfare 58 (3), pp. 395 - 427