equality of opportunity

John E. Roemer
From The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, Second Edition, 2008
Edited by Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume
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Abstract

Whereas the ethic of equality of outcome does not hold individuals responsible for actions that may create inequality of outcomes, equality of opportunity ‘levels the playing field’ so that all have potential to achieve equal outcomes; inequalities of outcome that then transpire are not compensable at the bar of justice. The influences on the outcome a person experiences comprise circumstances (for which he should not be held responsible) and effort (for which he should be). Equal-opportunity policy compensates persons for their disadvantaged circumstances, ensuring that, finally, only effort counts in achieving outcomes.
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How to cite this article

Roemer, John E. "equality of opportunity." The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics. Second Edition. Eds. Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume. Palgrave Macmillan, 2008. The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics Online. Palgrave Macmillan. 30 October 2014 <http://www.dictionaryofeconomics.com/article?id=pde2008_E000214> doi:10.1057/9780230226203.0494

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