Is Perceived Equal Opportunity Corrosive for Support for Equal Outcomes? Individual-Based Evidence

  • Raul Magni-BertonEmail author


According to a long-standing school of thought, the improvement in equal opportunity is said to reduce the support for equality of outcomes. Yet, some scholars challenge this wisdom and maintain that equalizing opportunities introduces higher uncertainty about individuals’ future rank in their society, which, in turn, leads to more demand for equalizing incomes. Based on the 2013 survey of French residents (N = 4000), this paper argues that both claims are correct. Two pieces of evidence are provided. First, the relationship between perceived equality of opportunity and preference for equality of outcomes is asymmetrically U-shaped. Second, using split samples, this relationship proves to be decreasing among the poorest and increasing among the richest. The article provides some clues supporting the generalizability of such results, based on the analysis of the four waves of the International Social Survey Program in 27 countries.


Equal opportunity Support for equal outcomes Public opinion 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

Raul Magni-Berton declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political ScienceUniv. Grenoble-Alpes (Sciences Po Grenoble), PACTEGrenobleFrance

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