Sunday, June 24, 2018

Economist Dilemma Between Equality and Equity

What is equality?
In economics, equality may imply:
a. evenness
b. fair division
c. equal access to resources 
d. same number of identical tools to work with
e. everyone is being given a similar opportunity

What is equity then?
In economics, equity is whether the final outcome is the same or fair for everyone. Equality does not automatically result in fairness. Everyone may be given the same access but the final result may be unfavourable for some. One can happen without the other. To illustrate, consider the following scenarios:
a. A family dinner of four, consisting of parents and two young kids. Equality means everyone is being served with the same portion of, say, chicken. However, this is inequitable. Adults have bigger appetite and therefore should be given a bigger portion. On the other hand, children have smaller appetite and therefore should be served with a smaller portion

b. An economics class with 20 students. Equality is when everyone gets the same teacher. However, different students have different needs, different academic capabilities and also different learning styles. The teaching technique employed by the teacher may not necessarily work for everyone in the class. This explains why some students may score better than their friends although being in the same class

c. An economics exam with 2 hours. Equality is when every candidate is being given the same amount of time to sit for a particular paper. However, the outcome may be unfair for certain students. Some may suffer from problems like minor dyslexic, hand injury and vision problem. To compensate or ensure equity, students with such problems must be given some leniency in the form of extra time, say, 30 minutes


Hurdle race. Equality is when everyone begins from the same starting line. However, we know that it is going inequitable. Runners in the inside lanes have distinct advantage over those runners in the outer lanes because the distance that they have to cover is shorter. To create an equitable outcome and to ensure that the result is fair, those who are running in the outside lanes must be positioned ahead of those who are in the inside lanes

e. Scouts with backpack. Equality happens when every scout member carries the same amount of weight. However, this could be very unfair/ inequitable as the scout leader does not consider the ability of each member. To achieve fairness, bigger and taller/ adult scout members must carry more weights while the rest shoulder lighter weights

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