Measuring unfair inequality

From a new VOX post:

“Rising income and wealth inequality have come into sharp focus since the Global Crisis. Using US and European data, this column explores the factors contributing to unfair inequality, focusing on equality of opportunity and freedom from poverty. The results show that unfair inequality is greater in the US than anywhere in Europe, and that it has been increasing over time. The findings also show that relying solely on measures of equality of opportunity will severely underestimate unfair inequality.”

“How much of the unfairness of inequality can be attributed to its two components – equality of opportunity and freedom from poverty? We cannot cleanly allocate all unfair inequality to either freedom from poverty or equality of opportunity, since they are partly overlapping. But we can derive upper and lower bounds (technical details are provided in Hufe et al. 2018). As documented in Figures 3 and 4, our baseline results are driven by equality of opportunity and freedom from poverty in about equal proportions. But, what this does suggest is that relying solely on equality of opportunity as a gauge will grossly understate the degree of unfairness in a society.”

Posted by at 9:05 PM

Labels: Inclusive Growth


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