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Interpretations of «equal opportunity» in practice: Comparing the feasibility of divergent concepts

Robert Kappius

Rivista italiana degli economisti, 2013, issue 2, 227-252

Abstract: Within the notion «equality of opportunity» («EOp»), diverse conceptualizations competefor the privilege of interpretation. Although these concepts may adapt to various normative attitudes, theytacitly express divergent fundamental positions for interpreting «EOp». Which concept to choose? Thisarticle assesses whether feasibility restrictions - apart from ubiquitous philosophical debating - can serveto choose a suitable concept from the menu of available interpretations. To prepare the basis for an informedchoice between «EOp» concepts with respect to feasibility issues, a taxonomy of «EOp» interpretationsis proposed that demonstrates their fundamental differences. Based on this taxonomy, majorfeasibility issues considered in the «EOp» literature are reviewed and assorted to classes of «EOp» concepts.Incorporating competing «EOp» concepts into a systematic comparison turns out to contribute toovercome feasibility issues within the overall justice ideal. This reasoning is finally applied to contexts ofelementary and vocational education in order to illustrate the need for context-based choice of «EOp»concepts.

Keywords: Equality of opportunity; measurement; feasibility restrictions; taxonomy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2013
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Handle: RePEc:mul:jqat1f:doi:10.1427/73849:y:2013:i:2:p:227-252