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Liberal and radical equality of opportunity (EQUALOPP) Michael Grätz

A large number of studies examine how advantages in terms of resources, such as education, profession, income, and wealth, are passed from one generation to the next. This research is motivated by the idea that the intergenerational transmission of advantageous resources contradicts the normative ideal of equal opportunity. However, the relationship between the normative ideal of equal opportunity and empirical measures of intergenerational transmission is rarely spelled out, and many researchers in this field avoid using normative language and referring to equal opportunity.

This project addresses this major limitation in research on social stratification. The first innovation of EQUALOPP is to recognize the need to distinguish between different conceptions of equal opportunity, motivated by literature in sociology, philosophy, political science, and economics. EQUALOPP distinguishes between liberal and radical conceptions of equal opportunity.

The second innovation is to link these different conceptions of equal opportunity to different measurable empirical concepts. The project will measure these empirical concepts using multiple sources of data from five European countries and the United States. The empirical analyses will address three questions of major importance for the social sciences:

  1. Do liberal and radical conceptions of equal opportunity vary from one country to another?
  2. Have liberal and radical conceptions of equal opportunity increased from one cohort to another?
  3. Can educational reforms and societal changes affect liberal and radical conceptions of equal opportunity?

EQUALOPP will advance our understanding of equal opportunity. It will broaden our theoretical understanding of equal opportunity and provide new and more reliable empirical measures of equal opportunity. Finally, the empirical analyses will provide an updated picture of equal opportunity in Europe and the United States.

Important link

More information about EQUALOPP on Michael Grätz's personal page.

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