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Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?

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  • Annekatrin Niebuhr

Abstract

Recent theoretical research deals with economic costs and benefits of cultural diversity related to immigration. However, empirical evidence regarding the impact of cultural diversity on economic performance is still scarce. We analyse the effect of cultural diversity of the labour force on patent applications for a cross‐section of German regions. The results suggest that differences in knowledge and capabilities of workers from diverse cultural backgrounds enhance performance of regional R&D sectors. As regards innovation, the benefits of diversity seem to outweigh the costs caused, for example, by communication barriers. Resumen La investigación teórica reciente trata los costos económicos y los beneficios de la diversidad cultural relacionados con la inmigración. Sin embargo, aun son escasas las pruebas empíricas relacionadas con el impacto de la diversidad cultural sobre el desempeño económico. Analizamos el efecto de la diversidad cultural de la fuerza laboral sobre solicitudes de patentes para una muestra transversal de regiones alemanas. Los resultados sugieren que las diferencias en conocimiento y capacidad de los trabajadores de orígenes culturales diversos mejoran el rendimiento de los sectores regionales de I+D. en cuanto a la innovación, parece ser que los beneficios de la diversidad superan con creces los costos que implican, por ejemplo en barreras de comunicación.

Suggested Citation

  • Annekatrin Niebuhr, 2010. "Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(3), pages 563-585, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:presci:v:89:y:2010:i:3:p:563-585
    DOI: 10.1111/j.1435-5957.2009.00271.x
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives
    • R11 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Regional Economic Activity: Growth, Development, Environmental Issues, and Changes

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