Note: We are grateful to Caridad Araujo, Pranab Bardhan, Ricardo Paes de Barros, Marc Fleurbaey, James Foster, Markus Goldstein, Stephen Jenkins, Peter Lanjouw, Marta Menéndez, Vito Peragine, John Roemer, Jaime Saavedra, and three anonymous referees for helpful comments on earlier drafts. Insightful comments were also received at conferences or seminars at the World Bank, the IDB, the Brookings Institution, Cornell University, the Catholic University of Milan, Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colégio de México, Universidad Torcuato di Tella in Buenos Aires, and the Universities of Essex, London, Lund, Manchester, and Oxford. We also thank Carlos Becerra, Jofre Calderón, and Leo Gasparini for kindly providing us with access to data. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors, and should not be attributed to the World Bank, their Executive Directors, or the countries they represent.
THE MEASUREMENT OF INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY: THEORY AND AN APPLICATION TO LATIN AMERICA
Article first published online: 21 JUL 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Review of Income and Wealth © International Association for Research in Income and Wealth 2011
Review of Income and Wealth
Volume 57, Issue 4, pages 622–657, December 2011
How to Cite
FERREIRA, F. H. G. and GIGNOUX, J. (2011), THE MEASUREMENT OF INEQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY: THEORY AND AN APPLICATION TO LATIN AMERICA. Review of Income and Wealth, 57: 622–657. doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4991.2011.00467.x
- Issue published online: 16 NOV 2011
- Article first published online: 21 JUL 2011
- inequality of opportunity;
- Latin America
Building on the existing literature, this paper constructs a simple scalar measure of inequality of opportunity and applies it to six Latin American countries. The measure—which captures between-group inequality when groups are defined exclusively on the basis of predetermined circumstances—is shown to yield a lower-bound estimate of true inequality of opportunity. Absolute and relative versions of the index are defined, and alternative parametric and non-parametric methods are employed to generate robust estimates. In the application to Latin America, we find inequality of opportunity shares ranging from one quarter to one half of total consumption inequality. An opportunity-deprivation profile that identifies the worst-off types in each society is also formally defined, and described for the same six countries. In three of them, 100 percent of the opportunity-deprived were found to be indigenous or Afro-descendants.