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Gender Inequality and Reflexive Law: The Potential of different regulatory Mechanisms for making Employment Rights effective


  • Deakin, S.
  • McLaughlin, C.
  • Chai, D.H.


We review the different regulatory mechanisms which have been used in the UK context to promote gender equality in employment over the past decade, including legal enforcement based on claimant-led litigation, collective bargaining, pay audits, and shareholder pressure. Evidence is drawn from case studies examining the effects of these different mechanisms on organisations in the public and private sectors, and from econometric analysis of the impact of stock market pressures on firms' human resource practices. We argue that there is scope for reflexive solutions to improve the effectiveness in practice of UK equality law, by inducing efficient disclosure by employers, setting default rules, and encouraging bargaining in the shadow of the law.

Suggested Citation

  • Deakin, S. & McLaughlin, C. & Chai, D.H., 2011. "Gender Inequality and Reflexive Law: The Potential of different regulatory Mechanisms for making Employment Rights effective," Working Papers wp426, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp426
    Note: PRO-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item


    equal pay; gender equality; reflexive law;

    JEL classification:

    • J53 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor-Management Relations, Trade Unions, and Collective Bargaining - - - Labor-Management Relations; Industrial Jurisprudence
    • J78 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Discrimination - - - Public Policy (including comparable worth)
    • K31 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Labor Law

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