Department Living Conditions team | Income, Wealth, and Poverty

Equalization of opportunity:Models and identification with applications to policy evaluation

Equality of opportunity has gained popularity, in scholarly debates as well as among policy-makers, for defining the relevant equalitarian objective for the distribution and redistribution, among individuals, of a broad range of social and economic outcomes. Equality of opportunity is attained when unfair inequalities stemming from ethnic, gender, parental background and life origins do not predict the outcome prospects associated to these groups, controlling for responsibility factors. My project goal is to study and characterize instruments for evaluating if a society is converging toward the equitable configuration. I will take a welfare based perspective based upon ethic distance measures, I will provide necessary conditions for their identification under observational constraints and I will study equivalent implementable criteria and the associated inferential procedures. The analysis will be distributional, and I will make use of recent econometric techniques like quantile treatment effects models, to recover counterfactual realizations distributions for the treated. My project is motivated by salient empirical concerns. I project builds on three working packages where I’ll study: (1) the evolution of equality of opportunity in Europe during the Great Recession, to understand how the crisis impacts on labor market outcomes, and possible policy remedies (in this regard I will provide a special report for Luxembourg, one of the most opportunity-unequal countries with strong immigrations flows) ; (2) the impact of educational policies on student’s earnings prospects as adults; (3) the impact of universal childcare expansion in alleviating unjust inequalities right before that the human capital accumulation mechanisms amplify the gap in opportunities for those children experiencing less favourable backgrounds.

This project will lead to the the production of robust and statistically implementable tests for opportunity equalization. These tests we be made operational by writing a Stata routine, that is supposed to facilitate the application of equalization of opportunity tests along with traditional cost-benefit evaluations of policy impact. Provided that the necessary estimated or simulated distributions are availaable, the routin will guide the policymaker in the choice of the best policy parameters when justice, equity and efficiency concerns are at stake.

Project collaboration : The project established a collaborative agreement between LISER and the Department of Economics, University of Verona.

Publications related to the project:

- Andreoli F., T. Havnes and A. Lefranc (2019). Robust inequality of opportunity comparisons: Theory and application to early-childhood policy evaluation, The Review of Economics and Statistics, forthcoming.

- Andreoli F. (2018) Robust inference for inverse stochastic dominance, Journal of Business & Economic Statistics, 36(1):146-159.

- Andreoli F. and A. Fusco (2017) The evolution of inequality of opportunity across Europe: EU-SILC evidence. Ch. 24 in A.B. Atkinson, A.C. Guio and E. Marlier (Eds.) Monitoring Social Inclusion in Europe, Publications Office of the European Union, pp. 435-448. -

project leader
Tél.: (+352) 58 58 55 - 330
project members
  • Claudio Zoli (University of Verona)
project information
01/09/2013 - 01/10/2015
Fonds National de la Recherche
principal investigator
Francesco Andreoli