Annaelena Valentinia , Paolo Brunori, Francisco Ferreira , Pedro Salas-Rojo (2023) – Playing the birth lottery in South America and Europe

This paper presents an analysis of inequality of opportunity at a continental level in
South America and Europe. The concept of inequality of opportunity refers to the share
of inequality that can be predicted by circumstances beyond individual control, such as
sex, socioeconomic background, and ethnicity. Previous studies have estimated inequality
of opportunity at the country level and have often neglected the role of the country of
birth. However, as suggested by Milanovic (2015), country of birth may be a key factor to
understand inequality of opportunity. Our study builds upon this intuition. We build upon
Milanovic’s analysis of global inequality of opportunity and contribute to the literature in
two ways: first, we take into account migration as a key variable instead of assuming it is a
negligible factor, and second, we expand the set of circumstances considered to include sex,
socioeconomic background, and ethnicity. Our study utilizes a large set of survey data to
analyze inequality of opportunity in Latin America and Europe. Our findings reveal that,
consistent with Milanovic, region and country of birth are the single most important sources
of inequality of opportunity in both continents.