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Spillovers from Immigrant Diversity in Cities

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  • Abigail Cooke
  • Thomas Kemeny

Abstract

Using comprehensive longitudinal matched employer-employee data for the U.S.,this paper provides new evidence on the relationship between productivity and immigration-spawned urban diversity. Existing empirical work has uncovered a robust positive correlation between productivity and immigrant diversity, supporting theory suggesting that diversity acts as a local public good that makes workers more productive by enlarging the pool of knowledge available to them, as well as by fostering opportunities for them to recombine ideas to generate novelty. This paper makes several empirical and conceptual contributions. First, it improves on existing empirical work by addressing various sources of potential bias, especially from unobserved heterogeneity among individuals, work establishments, and cities. Second, it augments identification by using longitudinal data that permits examination of how diversity and productivity co-move. Third, the paper seeks to reveal whether diversity acts upon productivity chiefly at the scale of the city or the workplace. Findings confirm that urban immigrant diversity produces positive and nontrivial spillovers for U.S. workers. This social return represents a distinct channel through which immigration generates broad-based economic benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Abigail Cooke & Thomas Kemeny, 2015. "Spillovers from Immigrant Diversity in Cities," SERC Discussion Papers sercd0175, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:cep:sercdp:sercd0175
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    1. Is globalization to blame?
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2016-11-11 19:43:16

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    Cited by:

    1. Abigail Cooke & Thomas Kemeny, 2016. "Urban Immigrant Diversity and Inclusive Institutions," Working Papers 16-07, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.
    2. Brixy, Udo & Brunow, Stephan & D''Ambrosio, Anna, 2017. "Ethnic diversity in start-ups and its impact on innovation," IAB Discussion Paper 201725, Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung (IAB), Nürnberg [Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany].
    3. Abigail Cooke & Thomas Kemeny, 2016. "Immigrant Diversity and Complex Problem Solving," Working Papers 16-04, Center for Economic Studies, U.S. Census Bureau.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Immigrants; diversity; productivity; spillovers; cities;

    JEL classification:

    • O4 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity
    • R0 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • J61 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Geographic Labor Mobility; Immigrant Workers

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