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Measuring Inequality of Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean

by Ricardo Paes de Barros Francisco H. G. Ferreira Jaime Saavedra Chanduvi Jose R. Molinas Vega

Equality of opportunity is about leveling the playing field so that circumstances such as gender, ethnicity, place of birth, or family background do not influence a person's life chances. Success in life should depend on people's choices, effort and talents, not to their circumstances at birth. 'Measuring Inequality of Opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean' introduces new methods for measuring inequality of opportunities and makes an assessment of its evolution in Latin America over a decade. An innovative Human Opportunity Index and other parametric and non-parametric techniques are presented for quantifying inequality based on circumstances exogenous to individual efforts. These methods are applied to gauge inequality of opportunities in access to basic services for children, learning achievement for youth, and income and consumption for adults.

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