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Cultural Diversity, Cities and Innovation: firm Effects or City Effects?

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  • Neil Lee

Abstract

Growing cultural diversity is seen as important for innovation. Research has focused on two potential mechanisms: a firm effect, with diversity at the firm level improving knowledge sourcing or ideas generation, and a city effect, where diverse cities helping firms innovate. This paper uses a dataset of over 2,000 UK SMEs to test between these two. Controlling for firm characteristics, city characteristics and firm and city diversity, there is strong evidence for the firm effect. Firms with a greater share of migrant owners or partners are more likely to introduce new products and processes. This effect has diminishing returns, suggesting that it is a 'diversity' effect rather than simply the benefits of migrant run firms. However, there is no relationship between the share of foreign workers in a local labour market and firm level innovation, nor do migrant-run firms in diverse cities appear particularly innovative. But urban context does matter and firms in London with more migrant owners and partners are more innovative than others.

Suggested Citation

  • Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Cities and Innovation: firm Effects or City Effects?," SERC Discussion Papers 0144, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:0144
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Thomas Kemeny & Abigail Cooke, 2018. "Spillovers from immigrant diversity in cities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 18(1), pages 213-245.
    2. Keith McLeod & Richard Fabling & David C. Maré, 2014. "Hiring New Ideas: International Migration and Firm Innovation in New Zealand," Working Papers 14_14, Motu Economic and Public Policy Research.
    3. Winters, John V., 2014. "Foreign and Native-Born STEM Graduates and Innovation Intensity in the United States," IZA Discussion Papers 8575, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Swarnodeep Homroy & Kwok Tong Soo, 2014. "The impact of diversity on group and individual performance," Working Papers 65528509, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Cultural diversity; innovation; cities; SMEs; migration;

    JEL classification:

    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers
    • L21 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Business Objectives of the Firm
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population

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