“Disappearing” discrimination? The New Deal, ethnicity and the limits of policy evaluation

Fergusson, Ross (2007). “Disappearing” discrimination? The New Deal, ethnicity and the limits of policy evaluation. Youth and Policy(96) pp. 65–85.

URL: http://www.nya.org.uk


The New Deal for Young People has prompted a proliferation of evaluation studies, but little academic research. Yet crucial aspects of processes through which social inequalities are perpetuated are opaque to these evaluations. The paper underpins this claim with a review of official data and evaluations which indicates that inequalities between minority ethnic groups are neglected or masked. These sources suggest reduced levels of participation by these groups, increased exclusion, and persistent ‘underperformance’, especially amongst young black people. The limitations of evaluation with regard to identifying sources of inequality and establishing or refuting claims of discriminatory practices are outlined. It is argued that this review demonstrates the enhanced insights of comparatively modest research studies, and shows their importance. The paper concludes by proposing key empirical features of a policy-relevant, theoretically informed research agenda that would be a necessary condition of achieving greater inter-ethnic equality through this programme.

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