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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. William R. Kerr, 2009. "Breakthrough Inventions and Migrating Clusters of Innovation," Harvard Business School Working Papers 10-020, Harvard Business School.
    2. William R. Kerr & William F. Lincoln, 2010. "The Supply Side of Innovation: H-1B Visa Reforms and U.S. Ethnic Invention," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 28(3), pages 473-508, 07.
    3. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2012. "The Nexus between Labor Diversity and Firm's Innovation," IZA Discussion Papers 6972, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Ceren Ozgen & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2011. "Immigration and Innovation in European Regions," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-112/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    5. Trax, Michaela & Brunow, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens, 2012. "Cultural Diversity and Plant‐Level Productivity," IZA Discussion Papers 6845, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    6. Jaakko Simonen & Philip McCann, 2007. "Firm Innovation: The Influence Of R&D Cooperation And The Geography Of Human Capital Inputs," Development Research Unit Working Paper Series 29-07, Monash University, Department of Economics.
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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. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    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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