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Economic Policy and Equality of Opportunity

Sang Yoon (Tim) Lee and Ananth Seshadri

Economic Journal, 2018, vol. 128, issue 612, F114-F151

Abstract: We employ equality of opportunity (EOP) definitions from the literature on distributive justice to a quantitative model featuring intergenerational human capital investments and luck. When calibrated to the US, the model‐implied degree of EOP differs substantially depending on whether one considers it ethical to reward offspring for the effort of previous generations. Despite reducing intragenerational inequality, education subsidies do little to promote EOP. This is because if one thinks intergenerational investments should be rewarded, there is little room for improvement to begin with; in the opposite case, much stronger redistribution is needed for the policies to have a quantitative impact.

Date: 2018
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Economic Journal is currently edited by Estelle Cantillon, Martin Cripps, Andrea Galeotti, Morten Ravn, Kjell G. Salvanes, Frederic Vermeulen, Hans-Joachim Voth and Rachel Kranton

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