Financial Foundations Framework, Leadership, Ethics, and Trust

What's Fair? Equity, Equality, and Fairness

Cover of Report

Many local governments are grappling with the concept of “equity” in budgeting. Equity is one interpretation of fairness or justice. A central theme in debates about fairness and justice is equality versus equity. “Equality” means people should be treated the same by public policy to remove barriers to the individual’s success. It is commonly associated with giving people equality of opportunity. “Equity” means people should be treated differently by public policy to compensate for different circumstances and consequent need for help from government.