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ON SEVERAL APPROACHES TO EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY

  • John E. Roemer (a1)
Abstract

The formal theory of equality of opportunity emerged as a response – a friendly amendment – to Ronald Dworkin's (1981) characterization of resource egalitarianism, as defined by the allocation that would emerge from insurance contracts arrived at behind a thin veil of ignorance. This article compares several of the prominent versions of this response, put forth in the period 1993–2008. I argue that a generalization of Roemer's (1998) proposal is the most satisfactory approach. Inherent in that generalization is an indeterminism, which reflects a philosophical problem: that we do not know what comprise the ethically correct rewards to effort. The indeterminism should be resolved, I propose, by an ancillary theory which limits the degree of inequality which is acceptable.

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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

E. Anderson 1999. What is the point of equality? Ethics 109: 287337.

R. Arneson 1989. Equality and equality of opportunity for welfare. Philosophical Studies 56: 7793.

C. Calsamiglia 2009. Decentralizing equality of opportunity. International Economic Review 50: 273290.

G.A. Cohen 1989. On the currency of egalitarian justice. Ethics 99: 906944.

M. Fleurbaey 2008. Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

J. Harsanyi 1953. Cardinal utility in welfare economics and in the theory of risk-taking. Journal of Political Economy 61: 434435.

J. Harsanyi 1955. Cardinal welfare, individualistic ethics, and interpersonal comparisons, Journal of Political Economy 63: 309321.

H. Llavador and J. Roemer 2001. An equal-opportunity approach to the allocation of international aid. Journal of Development Economics 64: 147171.

J. Roemer 2002. Egalitarianism against the veil of ignorance. Journal of Philosophy 99: 167184.

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Economics & Philosophy
  • ISSN: 0266-2671
  • EISSN: 1474-0028
  • URL: /core/journals/economics-and-philosophy
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