Addressing Inequality of Opportunity: Some Lessons from the OECD and Latin America

  • Ulrich Lachler Independent economic development consultant.


Most OECD countries have seen income inequality increase over the past 25 years. The possibility that this may have been accompanied by rising inequality of opportunity triggers concerns about social justice and economic performance. This paper presents indirect evidence suggesting that the same factors causing overall income inequality to increase also are likely to have increased inequality of opportunity. Drawing on the experience of countries in the OECD and in Latin America, the paper concludes that greater fiscal progressivity and broad-based investments in education can be effective in reducing the inequality of opportunity without adverse effects on economic growth.

Author Biography

Ulrich Lachler, Independent economic development consultant.
Retired from the World Bank in 2011, where I was Lead Economist in various depts. 1983-87: Head of research team, Kiel Institute of Economics, Germany 1979-85: Asst. Prof. Econ., Univ. of Maryland, College Pk, USA 1978: Asst. Prof. Econ., Columbia Univ., NY, NY. USA