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Inequality of Opportunity in Spain: New Insights from New Data

Leopoldo Cabrera (), Gustavo Marrero (), Juan Rodríguez () and Pedro Salas-Rojo ()
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Leopoldo Cabrera: Universidad de La Laguna, CEDESOG and ISTUR
Pedro Salas-Rojo: Universidad Complutense de Madrid, ICAE and EQUALITAS

Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics, 2021, vol. 237, issue 2, 153-185

Abstract: Modern theories of social justice consider Inequality of Opportunity (IO), the part of overall inequality explained by individual circumstances (factors beyond the individual control, like socioeconomic background), as the truly concept of unfair inequality. In addition, recent empirical studies have found that IO harms growth. Then, given the big increase in income inequality in Spain during the last decade (now one of the highest levels in the EU), how large is IO in Spain? By using a novel database from the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) questionnaire on ‘Social inequality and social mobility in Spain’, we observe that the share of IO is 44% of overall inequality (Gini index). By circumstances, we find that about 90% of IO is due to parental education and occupation, the type of school attended, the gender of the household’s head and the size of the household. In addition, it is found that a large share of IO is channeled through the occupation and, especially, the level of education of the individual. These findings are consistent with the low levels of relative mobility in education and occupation observed in the database for Spain (2017)

Keywords: Inequality of opportunity; Intergenerational mobility; Educational channel; Occupational channel; Spain (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 I24 J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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