Economics and Philosophy

Articles

EQUAL OPPORTUNITY, REWARD AND RESPECT FOR PREFERENCES: REPLY TO ROEMER

Marc Fleurbaeya1

a1 Princeton University, USA mfleurba@princeton.edu

Abstract

This rejoinder to Roemer (this issue) examines Roemer's amendment to his EOp criterion, explains the similarities and differences between Roemer's approach to equality of opportunity and the economic literature inspired by the fair allocation theory, and proposes some clarifications on the compensation principle and the role of the reward principle in the definition of a responsibility-sensitive social criterion. It highlights the power of the ideal of respect for individual preferences with respect to the reward issue and the concern for potential harshness of the social criterion toward the individuals who fail to make good use of their opportunities. It discusses Roemer's objection against holding individuals responsible for their preferences.

(Online publication August 29 2012)

Marc Fleurbaey is Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor of Public Affairs and the Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His recent books include Fairness, Responsibility, and Welfare (Oxford University Press, 2008) and A Theory of Fairness and Social Welfare (Cambridge University Press, 2011, co-authored with F. Maniquet). His research bears primarily on normative economics and public economics.