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Equal Opportunity in Europe: Germany Scores Middle of the Range

Summary:
Germany is midfield among European countries when it comes to equal opportunity, according to the latest calculations by the ifo Institute. “Iceland, Finland and Norway lead the pack,” notes Paul Hufe, one of the authors of the study. “They are followed by Denmark and Sweden,” he adds. For Hufe, “Equal opportunity means that an individual’s ability to earn income should not depend on factors that s/he cannot influence at a personal level. To assess equal opportunity, we analysed data from several countries using cutting-edge statistical methods. In Germany around 25 percent of income disparity is due to the unequal distribution of opportunity. Success later in life for German children depends heavily on their father’s education

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Germany is midfield among European countries when it comes to equal opportunity, according to the latest calculations by the ifo Institute. “Iceland, Finland and Norway lead the pack,” notes Paul Hufe, one of the authors of the study.

“They are followed by Denmark and Sweden,” he adds. For Hufe, “Equal opportunity means that an individual’s ability to earn income should not depend on factors that s/he cannot influence at a personal level. To assess equal opportunity, we analysed data from several countries using cutting-edge statistical methods. In Germany around 25 percent of income disparity is due to the unequal distribution of opportunity. Success later in life for German children depends heavily on their father’s education and career. Different factors emerge in other countries,” explains Hufe. The European countries with the lowest level of equal opportunity in this calculation were Luxemburg, Portugal and Bulgaria.

Publication (in German)

  1. Brunori, Paolo, Paul Hufe and Daniel Mahler, "Wurzeln der Ungleichheit – Ist Ungleichheit gleich ungerecht?", ifo Schnelldienst 71 (05), 2018, 18–22 | Details | PDF Download

Clemens Fuest
Clemens Fuest took over from Hans Werner Sinn as chairman of the IFO Institute in April 2016. He is professor at the Faculty of Economics of the University of Munich.

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