Measuring Inequality of Opportunity

From The Economist:

20121013_SRC872Such an “Inequality of Opportunity Index” was pioneered by Francisco Ferreira of the World Bank and now exists for 40 countries. At one extreme lies Norway, where only 2% of the—already low—inequality can be explained by accidents of birth. At the other extreme, in Brazil a third of the high income inequality is due to people’s background. America is closer to Brazil than to Norway (see chart 1).

Economists also gauge equality of opportunity by measuring disparities in children’s access to basic services that will influence their prospects, such as education or running water. The World Bank is developing indices which adjust overall access to such services by a measure of the inequality in that access. South Africa, for instance, has the same overall rate of access to sanitation as Nicaragua. But once you adjust for race disparities, its “Human Opportunity Index” for sanitation is much lower.

More here.