The Journal of Economic Inequality

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 235–256 | Cite as

Equity, efficiency and inequality traps: A research agenda

  • François Bourguignon
  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira
  • Michael Walton


This paper discusses a research agenda that arises from unanswered questions and unresolved issues considered in the World Bank’s World Development Report 2006: Equity and Development. After formalizing the key concepts of equity; equality of opportunity; and efficiency, and proposing a definition for an equitable development policy, the paper discusses the concept of inequality traps, around which the research agenda is structured. Four broad groups of research questions are highlighted: those revolving around the measurement of inequality of opportunity and the diagnostics for the existence of an inequality trap; those dealing with the causes of inequality traps; the quantification of their efficiency costs; and those related to how institutions (including governments) evolve to overcome inequality traps.

Key words

equity equality of opportunity inequality traps. 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • François Bourguignon
    • 2
  • Francisco H. G. Ferreira
    • 1
    • 2
  • Michael Walton
    • 3
  1. 1.Development Research GroupThe World BankWashingtonUSA
  2. 2.Development Economics Vice-PresidencyThe World BankWashingtonUSA
  3. 3.John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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