ERIC Number: ED183472
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1978-Oct
Reference Count: 0
Notes on Alternative Conceptions of Equity.
Five interpretations of equity are examined as they relate to the distribution of public goods and services. The first principle, utilitarianism, maintains that individuals are free to pursue their own interests and are rewarded according to contributions. The second principle, needs, is the basis of communist societies in which each gives according to ability and receives according to needs. Egalitarianism, the third principle, suggests that social inequality will be eliminated if each person receives an equal share of goods and services. The fourth principle, contentment, is based on the extent to which people are satisfied or dissatisfied with goods and services they receive. The final principle, the maximum criterion, suggests that the objective of public policy is to improve the share of the least advantaged members of society. Throughout the paper, emphasis is placed on the philosophical underpinnings of each principle, strengths and weaknesses when used as a guide to designing public policy, and social and economic inequalities which result from policies based on each principle. The conclusion is that policy makers apply these equity conceptions in a deliberately fuzzy manner because to do so enables them to hold down costs and to reverse distributive measures when costs are perceived as excessive. (DB)
Descriptors: Beliefs, Delivery Systems, Disadvantaged, Equal Facilities, Equalization Aid, Evaluation Criteria, Government Role, Literature Reviews, Needs Assessment, Planning, Policy, Poverty, Public Opinion, Public Policy, Resource Allocation, Social Attitudes, Tax Allocation, Theories
Publications Department, The Rand Corporation, 1700 Main Street, Santa Monica, CA 90406 ($3.00)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Rand Corp., Santa Monica, CA.
Note: Prepared for presentation in the lecture series "Equity in the City," Columbia University, Continuing Education Program, 1976