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Vito Peragine

Université de Bari, Italie
On the Measurement of Inequality of Opportunity
01 February 2012 -
30 June 2012

Vito Peragine is currently an Associate Professor of Public Economics at the University of Bari, Italy. Previously, he held the position of Lecturer in Economics at the University “Carlos III” of Madrid (1999-2001). He holds a PhD in Economics from the University of York (UK). He has recently been a visiting researcher at: CERSES, CNRS, Paris; World Bank, Washington DC; University of Oregon, Eugene; Statistics Norway, Oslo; and the University of Montreal, Montreal. His main research interests are in the area of public economics, particularly in the field of poverty and inequality, distributive justice, social policy, and the economics of education.

The present research project has two main objectives. The first is to compare the different approaches to measuring opportunity inequality that have been suggested so far in the literature. On the theoretical side, the axiomatic approach will be used in order to undercover the normative basis of the different methods and the existence of possible tensions between them. On the empirical side, the problem is that of analyzing the differences between the social rankings generated by different approaches. The second objective is to investigate some specific aspects related to the measurement of opportunity inequality. First, most of the existing literature implicitly assumes no correlation between circumstances and effort. Hence, the measures derived are able to measure only the direct effect of circumstances on outcomes. In this research we aim at considering the case in which preferences are partly determined by circumstances and hence we distinguish between a direct effect of circumstances on outcomes and an indirect effect via the choice of effort. Second, in most of the existing contributions, the analysis of inequality of opportunity is based on snapshots of income. However, there is a large agreement on the relevance of extending the income distribution analysis to an intertemporal context. In this project we propose to deepen this specific aspect introducing and applying a general framework for the evaluation of the long term income distribution, consistently with the principle of equality of opportunity. Finally, we intend to extend the EOp measurement from a one-dimensional (EOp in income, EOp in education) to multidimensional context.

Contemporary period (1789-…)