June 2012

IZA DP No. 6672: Empirical Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures, and Evidence

Xavier Ramos, Dirk Van de gaer

substantially revised version published in: Journal of Economic Surveys, 30(5), 855-883

We put together the different conceptual issues involved in measuring inequality of opportunity, discuss how these concepts have been translated into computable measures, and point out the problems and choices researchers face when implementing these measures. Our analysis identifies and suggests several new possibilities to measure inequality of opportunity. The approaches are illustrated with a selective survey of the empirical literature on income inequality of opportunity.