An entitlement is a guarantee of access to something, such as basic needs or social welfare benefits, based on established rights or legislation. A right is itself an entitlement associated with a moral or social principle, such that an entitlement is a provision made in accordance with a legal framework of a society. Typically, entitlements are based on concepts of principle (rights) that are themselves based in concepts of social equality or enfranchisement.

The entitlement theory is part of a theory of distributive justice and private property formulated by Robert Nozick in his work Anarchy, State, and Utopia (1974). The theory is an outcome of Nozick’s attempt to describe “justice in holdings”—or what can be said about and done with the property people own when ...

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