Inequality of Opportunity in Spainnew Insights from New Data

  1. 1 Universidad de La Laguna

    Universidad de La Laguna

    San Cristobal de La Laguna, España


  2. 2 Universidad Complutense de Madrid

    Universidad Complutense de Madrid

    Madrid, España

    ROR 02p0gd045

Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics

ISSN: 0210-1173

Datum der Publikation: 2021

Nummer: 237

Seiten: 153-185

Art: Artikel

Andere Publikationen in: Hacienda Pública Española / Review of Public Economics


Modern theories of social justice consider Inequality of Opportunity (IO), the part of overall inequality explained by individual circumstances (factors beyond the individual control, like socioeconomic background), as the truly concept of unfair inequality. In addition, recent empirical studies have found that IO harms growth. Then, given the big increase in income inequality in Spain during the last decade (now one of the highest levels in the EU), how large is IO in Spain? By using a novel database from the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) questionnaire on ‘Social inequality and social mobility in Spain’, we observe that the share of IO is 44% of overall inequality (Gini index). By circumstances, we find that about 90% of IO is due to parental education and occupation, the type of school attended, the gender of the household’s head and the size of the household. In addition, it is found that a large share of IO is channeled through the occupation and, especially, the level of education of the individual. These findings are consistent with the low levels of relative mobility in education and occupation observed in the database for Spain (2017)

Informationen zur Finanzierung

We acknowledge suggestions of Florian Wendelspiess and the collaboration of the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas (CIS) to elaborate the Questionare CIS-3178 on ‘Desigualdad Social y Movilidad Social en España’. This paper has received financial support from the Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad of Spain (Marrero through project ECO2016-76818-C3-2-P, and Rodríguez and Salas-Rojo through project ECO2016-76506-C4-1-R). Marrero also acknowledges financial support from Gobierno de Canarias for support through the ProID2017010088 (María del Carmen Betancourt y Molina program) R&D project, co-funded by the Operative Program FEDER 2014-2020. Salas-Rojo also acknowledges financial support from Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universi-dades through FPU grant 17/735. All views and any remaining errors or omissions are our sole responsibility. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-2337-7436. ORCID ID: 0000-0003-4030-0078. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-0256-8789. ORCID ID: 0000-0002-8763-8909.


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