Equality of Opportunity
John Roemer points out that there are two views of equality of opportunity that are widely held today. The first, which he calls the nondiscrimination principle, states that in the competition for positions in society, individuals should be judged only on attributes relevant to the performance of the duties of the position in question. Attributes such as race or sex should not be taken into account. The second states that society should do what it can to level the playing field among persons who compete for positions, especially during their formative years, so that all those who have the relevant potential attributes can be considered. Common to both positions is that at some point the principle of equal opportunity holds individuals accountable for achievements of particular objectives, whether they be education, employment, health, or income. Roemer argues that there is consequently a "before" and an "after" in the notion of equality of opportunity: before the competition starts, opportunities must be equalized, by social intervention if need be; but after it begins, individuals are on their own. The different views of equal opportunity should be judged according to where they place the starting gate which separates "before" from "after." Roemer works out in a precise way how to determine the location of the starting gate in the different views.
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2 Circumstances Types and Autonomous Choice
3 Justifying the Proposal
4 A Formal Definition of Equality of Opportunity
5 Incentive Properties of the EOp Mechanism
6 Equality of Opportunity with Production
7 Equality of Opportunity for Welfare
8 Equality of Opportunity for Health
10 EqualOpportunity Unemployment Insurance
11 The EOp Distribution of Educational Financein the United States
12 The Scope and Extent of Equal Opportunity
13 To What Extent Should We Equalize Opportunities?
14 Affirmative Action
15 Concluding Remarks
9 Education and Advantage
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Page 2 - Common to all these views, however, is the precept that the equal-opportunity principle, at some point, holds the individual accountable for the achievement of the advantage in question, whether that advantage be a level of educational achievement, health, employment status, income, or the economist's utility or welfare. Thus there is, in the notion of equality of opportunity, a "before...
Page 1 - Roemer, for example, this idea means that 'society should do what it can to "level the playing field" among individuals who compete for positions, or, more generally, that it level the playing field among individuals during their periods of formation, so that all those with relevant potential will eventually be admissible to pools of candidates competing for positions'.
Page 1 - I call the nondiscrimination principle, states that, in the competition for positions in society, all individuals who possess the attributes relevant for the performance of the duties of the position in question be included in the pool of eligible candidates, and that an individual's possible occupancy of the position be judged only with respect to those relevant attributes. An instance of the first principle is...