Inequality of Opportunity in Wage: Estimation for Turkey


Akçakoca Bey Faculty of Political Sciences, Düzce University, Düzce, Turkey


This paper aims to examine the effects of the circumstances beyond the control of individuals on wage inequality using the Household Labor Force Survey in the period 2004-2016 in Turkey. The parametric and non-parametric inequality of opportunity estimation methods has been employed for male and female wage/salary earners separately. Parametric estimation results demonstrate that the proportion of inequality of opportunity in total wage inequality increases from 2004 to 2008 and declines afterward. Using the education level of the household head as a sole indicator of circumstances, non-parametric estimation shows that inequality of opportunity increases in the corresponding period. The percentage varies between 18.5%-24.7% and 8.8%-16.7% for females and males, respectively. The education level of the household head and the region are the most significant contributors to the inequality of opportunity in all years.


Alesina, A., & La Ferrara, E. (2005). Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities. Journal of Public Economics, 89(5–6), 897–931.
Arneson, R. J. (1989). Equality and Equal Opportunity for Welfare. Philosophical Studies: An International Journal for Philosophy in the Analytic Tradition, 56(1), 77–93.
Atinc, T. M., Banerjee, A., Ferreira, F. H. G., Lanjouw, P., Menendez, M., Özler, B., Prennushi, G., Rao, V., Robinson, J., Walton, M., & Woolcock, M. (2006). World Development Report 2006: Equity and Development, Retrieved from
Atkinson, A. B., & Piketty, T. (2011). Top Incomes: A Global Perspective (Eds.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Balcazar, C. F. (2015). Lower Bounds on the Inequality of Opportunity and Measurement Error. Economics Letters, 137(Supplement C), 102–105.
Blau, F. D., & Kahn, L. M. (2016). The Gender Wage Gap: Extent, Trends, and Explanations, NBER Working Paper, 21913, Retrieved from
Bossert, W. (1995). Redistribution Mechanisms Based on Individual Characteristics. Mathematical Social Sciences, 29(1), 1–17.
Bossert, W., Pattanaik, P. K., & Xu, Y. (1994). Ranking Opportunity Sets: An Axiomatic Approach. Journal of Economic Theory, 63(2), 326–345.
Basco, S., & Mestieri, M. (2019). The New Globalisation and Income Inequality. Retrieved from
Bourguignon, F., Ferreira, F. H. G., & Menendez, M. (2007). Inequality of Opportunity in Brazil. Review of Income and Wealth, 53(4), 585–618.
Bourguignon, F., Ferreira, F. H. G., & Walton, M. (2007). Equity, Efficiency and Inequality Traps: A Research Agenda. Journal of Economic Inequality, 5(2), 235–256.
Brock, J. M. (2018). Inequality of Opportunity, Governance and Individual Beliefs. European Bank for Reconstraction and Development Working Paper, 213, Retrieved from
Brunori, P., Hufe, P., & Mahler, D. G. (2018). The Roots of Inequality: Estimation Inequality of Opportunity from Regression Trees, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 8349, Retrieved from
Brunori, P., Palmisano, F., & Peragine, V. (2016) Inequality of Opportunity in Sun-Saharan Africa, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 7782, Retrieved from
Checchi, D., & Peragine, V. (2010). Inequality of Opportunity in Italy. Journal of Economic Inequality, 8(4), 429–450.
Cohen, G. A. (1989). On the Currency of Egalitarian Justice. Ethics, 99(4), 906–944.
Dhananjayan, S. (2017). We Need a New Social Movement Against Inequality. Retrieved from
Dworkin, R. (1981a). What is Equality? Part 1: Equality of Welfare. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 10(3), 185–246.
---------- (1981b). What is Equality? Part 2: Equality of Resources. Philosophy & Public Affairs, 10(4), 283–345.
Ferreira, F. H. G., & Gignoux, J. (2011). The Measurement of Inequality of Opportunity: Theory and an Application to Latin America. Review of Income and Wealth, 57(4), 622–657.
Ferreira, F. H. G., Gignoux, J., & Aran, M. (2011). Measuring Inequality of Opportunity with Imperfect Data: The Case of Turkey. Journal of Economic Inequality, 9(4), 651–680.
Ferreira, F. H. G., & Peragine, V. (2015). Equality of Opportunity - Theory and Evidence. World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, 7217, Retrieved from
Fleurbaey, M. (1995). Equal Opportunity or Equal Social Outcome? Economics and Philosophy, 11(1), 25–55.
---------- (1994). On Fair Compensation. Theory and Decision, 36(3), 277–307.
Fong, C. (2001). Social Preferences, Self-interest, and the Demand for Redistribution. Journal of Public Economics, 82(2), 225–246.
Foster, J. E., & Shneyerov, A. A. (2000). Path Independent Inequality Measures. Journal of Economic Theory, 91(2), 199–222.
Hassine, N. B. (2012). Inequality of Opportunity in Egypt. World Bank Economic Review, 26(2), 265–295.
Herrero, C. (1997). Equitable Opportunities: An Extension. Economics Letters, 55(1), 91–95.
INSCR. (2018). In Integrated Network for Societal Conflict Research. Retrieved December 20, 2018, from
Jayachandran, S., & Kuziemko, I. (2011). Why Do Mothers Breastfeed Girls Less than Boys? Evidence and Implications for Child Health in India. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 126(3), 1485–1538.
Juarez, F. W. C. (2015). Intergenerational Transmission of Education: The Relative Importance of Transmission Channels. Latin American Economic Review, 54(1), 1-44.
Juarez, F. W. C., & Soloaga, I. (2014). IOP: Estimating Ex-ante Inequality of Opportunity. Stata Journal, 14(4), 830–846.
Kranich, L. (1996). Equitable Opportunities: An Axiomatic Approach. Journal of Economic Theory, 71(1), 131–147.
Kuznets, S. (1955). Economic Growth and Income Inequality. The American Economic Review, 45(1), 1–28.
Nozick, R. (1974). Anarchy, State, and Utopia. New York: Basic Books.
Ok, E. A., & Kranich, L. (1998). The Measurement of Opportunity Inequality: A Cardinality-based Approach. Social Choice and Welfare, 15(2), 263–287.
Oryoie, A. R., & Abbasi-Nejad, H. (2017). The Rise and Fall of the Top Incomes in Iran 1985-2015. Iranian Economic Review, 21(4), 941-968.
Peragine, V. (1999). The Distribution and Redistribution of Opportunity. Journal of Economic Surveys, 13(1), 37-70.
Pignataro, G. (2012). Equality of Opportunity: Policy and Measurement Paradigms. Journal of Economic Surveys, 26(5), 800–834.
Quackenbush, C. (2019). The World’s Top 26 Billionaires Now Own as Much as the Poorest 3.8 Billion, Says Oxfam, Retrieved from
Ramos, X., & Van de Gaer, D. (2016). Approaches to Inequality of Opportunity: Principles, Measures and Evidence. Journal of Economic Surveys, 30(5), 855–883.
Rawls, J. (1971). A Theory of Justice. Cambridge: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
---------- (1958). Justice as Fairness. The Philosophical Review, 67(2), 164–194.
Roemer, J. E. (1998). Equality of Opportunity. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Roemer, J. E., & Trannoy, A. (2016). Equality of Opportunity: Theory and Measurement. Journal of Economic Literature, 54(4), 1288–1332.
Tien, B. N., & Adoho, F. M. (2018). Inequality in Earnings and Adverse Shocks in Early Adulthood. Policy Research Working Paper, 8538, Retrieved from
TurkStat. (2018). Income and Living Conditions Survey, 2017. Retrieved from
Van de Gaer, D. (1993). Equality of Opportunity and Investment in Human Capital (Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation), Leuven Catholic University, Leuven.