Inequality and Inequity
How inequality of opportunities and inequality of outcomes need tailored appraisals and measurements
In this lecture, François Bourguignon discusses how inequality need to be looked at from different perspectives. Despite the fact that inequality is most often defined by how unequal the resources that people can live on are, it is also essential to refer to the fact that people are not being offered the same possibilities of generating those resources, even though they might all expend the same efforts.
The former type of inequality is often called ‘inequality of outcomes’ whereas the latter corresponds to ‘inequality of opportunity’. This lecture focuses on the crucial distinction between these two concepts of inequality, showing that measuring them calls for different methods. In addition, correcting them may not conform to the same social objectives or have the same impact on the functioning of the economy. The two approaches may not rely on the same policy instruments. At the same time, however, the two concepts are complementary in several respects.