An ordinal approach to the study of intergenerational opportunities for standard of living: The case of Latin America

Joseph Deutsch, Jacques Silber

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This paper looks at the intergenerational transmission of opportunities for standard of living in Latin America. It proposes to study this question on the basis of an ordinal approach. This ordinal approach borrows recent ideas on the way to compare opportunity sets, that is, to rank matrices giving, for example, the distribution of individuals by level of education of their parents and the standard of living (income) of the group to which they belong. Such comparisons are based on the use of the concepts of rank and Generalized Lorenz Dominance. The empirical illustration is based on the data of the 2006 Latinobarómetro survey which covered 18 Latin American countries and the standard of living of individuals (children) was derived from an algorithm allowing one to compute the order of acquisition of durable goods and access to services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)579-604
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Economic Inequality
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We thank Casilda Lasso de la Vega and Ana Marta Urrutia for their very useful comments on a previous version of this paper that was prepared for the LAC Regional Report on Inequality in Human Development: The Intergenerational Transmission of Inequality. We thank Luis-Felipe Lopez-Calva and Isidro Soloaga for allowing us to submit this paper to the Journal of Economic Inequality and gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Adar Foundation of the Department of Economics of Bar-Ilan University. We also thank two anonymous referees for their very useful comments and suggestions.


  • Generalized Lorenz Dominance
  • Inequality of opportunity
  • Latin America
  • Latinobarómetro
  • Life chances
  • Ordinal approach
  • Rank dominance


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