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Qualified Equal Opportunity and Conditional Mobility: Gender Equity and Educational Attainmant in Canada

Gordon Anderson, Teng Wah Leo () and Robert Muelhaupt

Working Papers from University of Toronto, Department of Economics

Abstract: Interest in Economic and Social Mobility is rooted in a societal aspiration for equal opportunity. The aspiration is based upon an Egalitarian Political Philosophy which approves of differential outcomes when they are the consequence of differential effort and disapproves of differential outcomes when they are the consequence of differential circumstance and results in “level playing field” policies. In the absence of any other imperative, such policies would result in increased upward mobility for the poorly endowed and increased downward mobility for the richly endowed. Adding a Utilitarian imperative (the inheriting generation should not be made worse off in a first order dominance sense) to societal objectives results in a “Qualified Equal Opportunity or Conditional Mobility” policy which calls for rethinking the approach to mobility measurement. Techniques for evaluating the impact of such policies (both in terms of generational regressions and transition matrices) are proposed and exemplified in considering the issue of Gender Equity in educational attainment in Canada over the last 20 years. The evidence is that women have more than caught up with men and that, in closing the gap, it is the poorly endowed women who have made the most progress in terms of mobility whilst the mobility of males has remained relatively constant across the endowment spectrum consistent with a Qualified Equal Opportunity program.

Keywords: Mobility; and; Equal; Opportunity (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J62 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 38 pages
Date: 2009-08-06
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