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Equality Of Opportunity / Edition 1

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Overview

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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Editorial Reviews

Times Higher Education Supplement

Roemer's combination of the techniques of economics and philosophy throws down a challenge to those in both disciplines. He believes he has sorted out equal opportunity, to leave us only with questions of personal responsibility and efficiency. A dash of political science may rein in what we can make of his account, but Equality of Opportunity is a very important work of metaphysical welfare economics.
— Keith Dowding

Journal of Economic Literature
Articulates a level-playing-field view of equal opportunity. Proposes that the equal-opportunity policy must equalize, in an average sense, the educational achievements of all types of people but not equalize the achievements within types, which differ according to effort.
Times Higher Education Supplement - Keith Dowding
Roemer's combination of the techniques of economics and philosophy throws down a challenge to those in both disciplines. He believes he has sorted out equal opportunity, to leave us only with questions of personal responsibility and efficiency. A dash of political science may rein in what we can make of his account, but Equality of Opportunity is a very important work of metaphysical welfare economics.
Times Higher Education Supplement
Roemer's combination of the techniques of economics and philosophy throws down a challenge to those in both disciplines. He believes he has sorted out equal opportunity, to leave us only with questions of personal responsibility and efficiency. A dash of political science may rein in what we can make of his account, but Equality of Opportunity is a very important work of metaphysical welfare economics.
— Keith Dowding
Booknews
Roemer (economics, U. of California) sets forth a precise way to organize disparate views about equal opportunity. He employs philosophic and economic techniques to define a starting gate from which a society could proceed in order to translate views about personal accountability into social policy. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674004221
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 10/16/2000
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 132
  • Product dimensions: 0.28 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Roemer is Elizabeth S. and A. Varick Stout Professor of Political Science and Economics, Yale University.
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Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction

Circumstances, Types, and Autonomous Choice

Justifying the Proposal

A Formal Definition of Equality of Opportunity

Incentive Properties of the EOp Mechanism

Equality of Opportunity with Production

Equality of Opportunity for Welfare

Equality of Opportunity for Health

Education and Advantage

Equal-Opportunity Unemployment Insurance

The EOp Distribution of Educational Finance in the United States

The Scope and Extent of Equal Opportunity

To What Extent Should We Equalize Opportunities?

Affirmative Action

Concluding Remarks

References

Index

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