Equity, efficiency and inequality traps: A research agenda

François Bourguignon, Francisco H.G. Ferreira, Michael Walton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper discusses a research agenda that arises from unanswered questions and unresolved issues considered in the World Bank's World Development Report 2006: Equity and Development. After formalizing the key concepts of equity; equality of opportunity; and efficiency, and proposing a definition for an equitable development policy, the paper discusses the concept of inequality traps, around which the research agenda is structured. Four broad groups of research questions are highlighted: those revolving around the measurement of inequality of opportunity and the diagnostics for the existence of an inequality trap; those dealing with the causes of inequality traps; the quantification of their efficiency costs; and those related to how institutions (including governments) evolve to overcome inequality traps.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-256
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Economic Inequality
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2007


  • Equality of opportunity
  • Equity
  • Inequality traps

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Economics, Econometrics and Finance
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management


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