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Diversity, discrimination, and performance

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  • Leonard, Jonathan S.
  • Levine, David I.

Abstract

Employee diversity may affect business performance both as a result of customer discrimination and as a result of how members of a group work with each other in teams. We test for both channels with data from more than 800 retail stores employing over 70,000 individuals, matched to Census data on the demographics of the community. We find little payoff to matching employee demographics to those of potential customers except when the customers do not speak English. Diversity of race or gender within the workplace does not predict sales or sales growth, although age diversity predicts low sales.

Suggested Citation

  • Leonard, Jonathan S. & Levine, David I., 2003. "Diversity, discrimination, and performance," Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, Working Paper Series qt19d1c3n3, Institute of Industrial Relations, UC Berkeley.
  • Handle: RePEc:cdl:indrel:qt19d1c3n3
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Thomas S. Dee, 2004. "Teachers, Race, and Student Achievement in a Randomized Experiment," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 195-210, February.
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    8. Janet Currie & Duncan Thomas, 2000. "School Quality and the Longer-Term Effects of Head Start," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 35(4), pages 755-774.
    9. Kahn, Lawrence M & Sherer, Peter D, 1988. "Racial Differences in Professional Basketball Players' Compensation," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 6(1), pages 40-61, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Ben-Ner, Avner & McCall, Brian P. & Stephane, Massoud & Wang, Hua, 2009. "Identity and in-group/out-group differentiation in work and giving behaviors: Experimental evidence," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 72(1), pages 153-170, October.
    2. Gary Charness & Marie Claire Villeval, 2009. "Cooperation and Competition in Intergenerational Experiments in the Field and in the Laboratory," Post-Print halshs-00371984, HAL.
    3. Hoogendoorn, Sander M. & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Team Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Darwin Joseph R. & Palanisamy Chinnathambi Selvaraj, 2015. "The Effects of Work Force Diversity on Employee Performance in Singapore Organisations," International Journal of Business Administration, International Journal of Business Administration, Sciedu Press, vol. 6(2), pages 17-29, March.
    5. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2010. "Does Labor Diversity Affect Firm Productivity?," Working Papers 10-12, University of Aarhus, Aarhus School of Business, Department of Economics.
    6. Marino, Marianna & Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario, 2016. "Educational diversity and knowledge transfers via inter-firm labor mobility," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 123(C), pages 168-183.

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