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Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity

Roland Benabou () and Efe Ok

No 150, Working Papers from Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Discussion Papers in Economics

Abstract: Interest in economic mobility stems largely from its perceived role as an equalizer of opportunities, though not necessarily of outcomes. In this paper we show that this view leads very naturally to a methodology for the measurement of social mobility which has strong parallels with the theory of progressive taxation. We characterize opportunity?equalizing mobility processes, and provide simple criteria to determine when one process is more equalizing than another. We then explain how this mobility ordering relates to social welfare analysis, and how it di�ers from existing ones. We also extend standard indices of tax progressivity to mobility processes, and illustrate our general methodology on intra- and intergenerational mobility data from the United States and Italy.

Keywords: Social Mobility; Income Distribution; Inequality; Equality of Opportunity; Progressive Taxation (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 D63 H20 J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2000-08
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https://www.princeton.edu/~rbenabou/papers/w8431.pdf

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Working Paper: Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity (2001) Downloads
Working Paper: Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity (2000)
Working Paper: Mobility as Progressivity: Ranking Income Processes According to Equality of Opportunity (2000)
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