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Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data: the case of Turkey


The measurement of inequality of opportunity has hitherto not been attempted in a number of countries because of data limitations. This paper proposes two alternative approaches to circumventing the missing data problems in countries where a demographic and health survey (DHS) and an ancillary household expenditure survey are available. One method relies only on the DHS, and constructs a wealth index as a measure of economic advantage. The alternative method imputes consumption from the ancillary survey into the DHS. In both cases, we compute a lower bound estimator of the share of (ex-ante) inequality of opportunity in total inequality. Parametric and non-parametric estimates are calculated for each method, and the parametric approach is shown to yield preferable lower-bound measures. In an application to the sample of ever-married women aged 30–49 in Turkey, inequality of opportunity accounts for at least 26% (31%) of overall inequality in imputed consumption (the wealth index).

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Francisco H. G. Ferreira.

Additional information

We are grateful, without implication, to Deon Filmer, Jesko Hentschel, Peter Lanjouw, David McKenzie, two anonymous referees, and conference participants in Ankara, Louvain-la-Neuve and Medellin for comments on an earlier version of this paper. All remaining errors are ours. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors, and should not be attributed to the World Bank, its Executive Directors, or the countries they represent.

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Ferreira, F.H.G., Gignoux, J. & Aran, M. Measuring inequality of opportunity with imperfect data: the case of Turkey. J Econ Inequal 9, 651–680 (2011).

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  • Inequality of opportunity
  • Wealth index
  • Imputed consumption
  • Turkey

JEL Classification

  • D31
  • D63
  • J62