Inequality of opportunity in Europe
Working Paper 2010-172
In this paper we consider the main factors that have influenced inequality of opportunity (IO) in Europe. Based on the EU-SILC database, we find that the various levels of development, education and social protection expenditure in 23 European countries significantly affect IO. Dropping out from school, reaching at least secondary levels of education, social spending to promote social integration and child care are the most important variables of those analyzed. The functioning of the labor market and the tax structure, on the other hand, do not have a significant bearing on IO. Lastly, we note that IO and total inequality exhibit differentiated explanatory patterns, which signifies that means of redistribution that serve to reduce overall inequality do not necessarily reduce IO.