Are equality of opportunity and equality of outcome substitutable? Individual based evidence.

Raul Magni-Berton, Univ. Grenoble-Alpes, Sciences Po Grenoble, PACTE

According to some political economists, equality of outcome and equality of opportunity are substitutable. Assuming that people wish to equalize their opportunities in life, their level of demand for equalizing outcomes depends on their perception of social mobility in their society. On the other hand, substitutability can be criticized because equalizing opportunities introduces higher risk for an individual’s future rank in their society, and this causes yet more demand for equalizing outcomes. Evidence based on the French Survey “Dynegal” shows that both expectations are correct and that the relationship between perceived equality of opportunity and preference for equality of outcomes is robustly U-shaped.

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