"Legal Regulation of Affirmative Action in Northern Ireland: An Empirical Assessment"

Michigan Law Authors
Publish Date
Oxford Journal of Legal Studies
Publication Type
Journal Article

We address the question of the effectiveness of affirmative action agreements concluded by a regulatory body with employers in order to achieve greater equality in employment. We analyse the pattern of affirmative action agreements concluded by the Fair Employment Commission with employers in Northern Ireland between 1990 and 2000. We examine the association between these agreements and changes occurring in the religio-political composition of these employer's workforces during that period, based on a statistical analysis of monitoring data collected by the Commission from employers, compared with employers that did not enter into such agreements. We find that firms reaching agreements with the Commission demonstrated significant evidence of change over the decade. We conclude that such agreements were likely to have been an integral part of the processes driving change in the Northern Ireland labour market in the 1990s.

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