مساوات طلبی فرصت ها و نابرابری درآمد
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|7311||2002||20 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Mathematical Social Sciences, Volume 44, Issue 1, September 2002, Pages 45–64
In order to study the implications of the opportunity egalitarian theory of justice for the definition of welfare and inequality criteria, in this paper we extend the rank-dependent approach to the measurement of social welfare, suggested by Yaari [J. Econ. Theory 44 (1988)], to the case of income distributions which can be decomposed across homogeneous sub-groups. We then capture (some of) the opportunity egalitarian principles into the formulation of classes of social evaluation functions. Finally, by requiring unanimous agreement among the member of these families, we derive various criteria, generally expressed in forms of inverse stochastic dominance conditions, for unambiguous social rankings of income distributions.
There is renewed interest in welfare and normative economics for the science of egalitarianism. The main source of inspiration of this literature is, without doubt, the Rawlsian tradition in political philosophy, initiated by Rawls (1971) and developed by Dworkin, 1981a and Dworkin, 1981b, Sen (1985), Cohen (1989), Arneson (1989), Barry (1991), van Parijs (1995) and Roemer, 1993 and Roemer, 1998. This philosophical literature gave a strong endorsement to egalitarian goals, but made the point that while it may be reasonable to deny compensation for some welfare deficit, it is nonetheless important to limit the compensatory intervention only to handicaps for which individuals are not deemed responsible. As Cohen (1989) writes, this literature “[…] has performed for egalitarianism the considerable service of incorporating within it the most powerful idea in the arsenal of the anti-egalitarian right: the idea of choice and responsibility” (p. 993). This is done by suggesting that what matters, for a society to be equitable, is the distribution of the opportunities or chances open to individuals, rather than the distribution of final outcomes: opportunity instead of outcomes is the right ‘currency of egalitarian justice’. Some first attempts to formalize this philosophical concept have presented the goal of equalizing opportunities as a direct goal. In particular, some contributions addressing the question of ranking social states according to equality of opportunity (see, inter alia, Ok, 1997, Kranich, 1996, Kranich, 1997 and Ok and Kranich, 1998) have formulated the following problem: each individual in a society is endowed with a given (abstract) set of opportunities, assumed to be observable and measurable with precision, and the society is represented as a profile of opportunity sets. Therefore, the problem of measuring the degree of opportunity inequality is handled by characterizing inequality measures (or inequality rankings) of multidimensional distributions of individual opportunities1. This approach is surely correct in principle; however, its informational requirements seem too strong to be met in empirical applications. Meanwhile, another part of the economic literature (initiated by Bossert, 1995; Fleurbaey, 1995a and Fleurbaey, 1995b, and reviewed by Fleurbaey and Maniquet, 1999), mainly devoted to the definition of allocation rules rather than social orderings, has presented the problem of allocating (transferable) resources in order to offset the initial unequal distribution of opportunities. The main conceptual contribution of this literature, in my opinion, is a clarification of the relevant and distinct ethical principles involved in the opportunity egalitarianism project. In particular, it has highlighted the fact that the opportunity egalitarian goal is made of two subgoals which are totally distinct and possibly antagonistic. The first subgoal is to neutralize the influence over agents’ outcomes of the characteristics that elicit compensation: society should eliminate inequalities due to factors that are beyond the control of people (call these factors circumstances). This is called the principle of compensation (Barry, 1990; Fleurbaey, 1995a). The second subgoal, an expression of the ethics of responsibility, says that society should not indemnify people against outcomes that are consequences of causes that are within their control (call these factors effort2, for short). This is called the responsibility principle (Barry, 1990; Fleurbaey, 1995a). The two principles are independent. For an outcome egalitarian policy would satisfy the compensation and violate the responsibility principle, while a laissez-fare policy would satisfy the responsibility and violate the compensation principle. Moreover, it has been proved that, in some domains, they are logically inconsistent (see Bossert, 1995; Fleurbaey, 1995a and Fleurbaey, 1995b). In this paper we address the question of ranking social states according to equality of opportunity. However, instead of expressing the opportunity egalitarian goal in its direct form (as in Ok’s and Kranich’s contributions), hence measuring the degree of inequality in a distribution of opportunities, we employ the compensation/responsibility scheme. In a social ordering context, given a definition of individual outcomes and a distinction between circumstances and responsibility, the principle of compensation can be expressed by stating the relevance of the circumstances-based outcome inequalities; while the responsibility principle is expressed by stating the irrelevance of the effort-based inequalities. Therefore, the aim becomes one of seeking welfare and inequality orderings of outcome distributions, which are sensitive with respect to the former, but express neutrality with regard to the latter inequalities. Specifically, we focus on income as the relevant outcome, and we formulate the problem of ranking income distributions on the basis of the responsibility and the compensation principles. The strategy we propose is the following. We have an income distribution, where each individual income is causally determined by two classes of factors: circumstances and effort. We assume observability of a person’s circumstances, but not of her effort. To cope with this informational constraint, we first partition the population into types, a type being a subset of the total population characterized by homogeneity with respect to the circumstances. Then, by assuming that, for any given level of circumstances, the income function is monotonically increasing in the (unobservable) effort, we obtain the following ‘statistical solution’, suggested by Roemer, 1993 and Roemer, 1998: people in different types have exercised a comparable degree of effort if they are at the same centile of their own type income distribution. To rank such distributions we adopt a normative approach. That is, we first (Section 3) define welfare rankings by the formulation of classes of social evaluation functions (SEFs) consistent with the responsibility and compensation principles. These are expressed in the following way: first, we declare the ‘welfare relevance’ of an equalizing transfer of income if it takes place among people at the same level of effort but endowed with different circumstances; second, we ask invariance of our welfare ranking if such a transfer takes place between persons endowed with the same set of circumstances. Then, by requiring unanimous agreement across the members of the different families of SEFs, we obtain suitable inequality criteria (Section 4). The paper concludes with a summary and an agenda for future research. The next section introduces the formal model.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The philosophy of equality of opportunity is this: society should indemnify people against poor outcomes that are the consequence of causes beyond their control, but not against outcomes that are the consequence of causes within their control, and therefore for which they are personally responsible. In this paper we have tried to explore how the opportunity egalitarian ethics can be translated into suitable inequality criteria, when the individual responsibility level is unobservable. By capturing (some of) the opportunity egalitarian principles into the formulation of classes of social evaluation functions, dominance criteria for unambiguous social rankings of income distributions have been characterized. The domain of our analysis has been restricted by some assumptions on the income function: we have assumed that there is a production function which relates a person’s income to her effort and circumstances in an obvious way: the income is a monotone increasing function of both effort and circumstances. When these assumptions are satisfied, then the identification of the relative rank in the type income parade with a person ‘degree of effort’, and the welfare analysis developed on this basis is highly plausible. If, on the other hand, these assumptions are violated, then the properties formulated in the paper—and the corresponding welfare ranking—become less ethically compelling, which, in turn, implies that the distributional conditions characterized—although statistically implementable—become much less plausible. A further difficulty that might arise concerns the cut between circumstances and effort. In addition to the practical difficulties discussed in Section 3, there is a purely normative issue involved: how to distinguish the factors for which the person is to be held accountable from the factors she should not? We certainly recognize the difficulty of reaching full agreement on a complete definition of what constitutes ‘circumstances’; nevertheless, it is reasonable to predict that a consensus could emerge on some basic factors. When such a space of evaluation is chosen, the criteria proposed in this paper allow us to have knowledge of the opportunity inequality, at least in such a partial way. Suppose, as an extreme example, that we declare race as the only factor beyond the individual responsibility. That is to say, other factors, such as parental income, family connections, luck, and so on, are implicitly classified as within the sphere of individual responsibility. If, even under this extremely conservative view of what constitutes responsibility, our society exhibits a certain degree of inequality of opportunity for income, then we are legitimate to conclude that a ‘minimal’ compensatory policy should be predicated on racial characteristics of the individuals. Of course, the extent of the compensatory intervention dictated by such a minimalist view of individual responsibility should be viewed only as a lower bound for a global redistributive program. It is possible to indicate some possible extensions of this work. First, while in this paper we have characterized partial orderings, it would be interesting to investigate complete orderings which are possibly consistent with the rankings characterized here. The idea is that of using an additively decomposable inequality index, then interpreting the inequality between types as opportunity inequality, and the inequality within types as inequality due to individual responsibility. Second, the analysis could be extended by considering the possible interaction between the individual’s autonomous choice of responsibility and the choices made by others. By stating that the degree of effort exercised uniquely determines the location (centile) of an individual in her type income distribution, we have implicitly assumed that the individual (responsible) choices can be directly mapped to a consequence in terms of individual advantage, without considering the possible interaction with the choices made by other individuals. Once we have recognized the crucial difference between the action a person chooses, among those open to her, and the consequence of this action, which is the result of simultaneous actions chosen by all the individuals in the considered society, it is not clear at all where, in such a context, to draw the bounds of the individual responsibility. An explicit consideration of this distinction seems to be a promising direction for future exercises of modelling the equality of opportunity problem.