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The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Innovation: Evidence from Dutch Firm-Level Data

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  • Ceren Ozgen

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    (Department of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam)

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    Abstract

    Due to the growth in international migration in recent decades, the workforce of firms in host countries has become considerably more diverse, both demographically and culturally. It is an important question for firms and for governments to ask whether there are some productivity-enhancing externalities gained from this growing diversity within firms. In recent years migration research has demonstrated positive economic impacts of cultural diversity on productivity and innovation at the regional level. However, there is a dearth of research on the links between innovation and migrant diversity at the firm level. In this paper we construct and analyse a unique linked employer-employee micro-dataset of 4582 firms, based on survey and administrative data obtained from Statistics Netherlands. Excluding firms in the hospitality industry and other industries that employ low-skilled migrants, we use the local number of restaurants with foreign cuisines and the historical presence of migrant communities as valid instruments of endogenous migrant settlement. We find that firms in which foreigners account for a relatively large share of employment are somewhat less innovative. However, there is strong evidence that firms that employ a more diverse foreign workforce are more innovative, particularly in terms of product innovations.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London in its series Norface Discussion Paper Series with number 2011013.

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    Date of creation: Sep 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2011013

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    Keywords: immigration; innovation; cultural diversity; knowledge spillovers; linked employer-employee data; Netherlands;

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    1. Michaela Trax & Stephan Brunow & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1223, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Jennifer Hunt & Marjolaine Gauthier-Loiselle, 2008. "How Much Does Immigration Boost Innovation?," Departmental Working Papers 2008-07, McGill University, Department of Economics.
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    4. Ceren Ozgen & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2011. "Immigration and Innovation in European Regions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-112/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Annekatrin Niebuhr, 2006. "Migration and Innovation - Does Cultural Diversity Matter for Regional R&D Activity?," ERSA conference papers ersa06p31, European Regional Science Association.
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    Cited by:
    1. Ceren Ozgen & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2013. "Measuring Cultural Diversity and its Impact on Innovation: Longitudinal Evidence from Dutch firms," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2013003, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    2. Stephan Brunow & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "The Impact of a Culturally Diverse Workforce on Firms' Market Size: An Empirical Investigation on Germany," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-082/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    3. Michaela Trax & Stephan Brunow & Jens Suedekum, 2012. "Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity," CReAM Discussion Paper Series 1223, Centre for Research and Analysis of Migration (CReAM), Department of Economics, University College London.
    4. Dr Max Nathan, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts Of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey Of The Literature," NIESR Discussion Papers 11607, National Institute of Economic and Social Research.
    5. Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2013. "One nation under a groove? Understanding national identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 166-185.
    6. Longhi, Simonetta, 2013. "Impact of cultural diversity on wages, evidence from panel data," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 797-807.

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