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Workforce Diversity and Productivity: An Analysis of Employer-Employee Match Data

Author

Listed:
  • Linda Barrington

    () (The Conference Board)

  • Kenneth R. Troske

    () (University of Missouri-Columbia)

Abstract

Calls for workforce diversity abound; arguments in support of diversity at the workplace suggest that we are a better society when we work together. In a recent opinion poll, 81% of respondents said that it is somewhat or very important “to have employees of different races, cultures and backgrounds in the workplace or businesses.” However, the actual economic costs and benefits to workforce diversity are unclear. The goal of this paper is to empirically assess the relationship between workforce diversity and the economic performance of an establishment. We use the New Worker-Establishment Characteristics Database (NWECD), a nationwide employer-employee matched data set, to estimate the association between productivity and workforce diversity. These data allow us to overcome many of the limitations of past studies because the NWECD is an establishment-level data set. Our main finding is that diversity is either positively associated with productivity or there is no significant relationship between diversity and productivity. We never find a significant negative relationship between establishment-level diversity and productivity. This leads us to conclude that establishments that employ a more diverse workforce are no less productive than establishments that employ a more homogeneous workforce.

Suggested Citation

  • Linda Barrington & Kenneth R. Troske, 2001. "Workforce Diversity and Productivity: An Analysis of Employer-Employee Match Data," Economics Program Working Papers 01-02, The Conference Board, Economics Program.
  • Handle: RePEc:cnf:wpaper:0102
    as

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    File URL: http://www.conference-board.org/economics/workingpapers.cfm?pdf=E-0007-01-WP
    File Function: First version, 2001
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chicha, Marie-Thérèse., 2006. "Analyse comparative de la mise en oeuvre du droit à l'égalité de rémunération : modèles et impacts," ILO Working Papers 993920333402676, International Labour Organization.
    2. Deshpande, Ashwini & Weisskopf, Thomas E., 2014. "Does Affirmative Action Reduce Productivity? A Case Study of the Indian Railways," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 169-180.
    3. Schneider, Lutz, 2006. "Sind ältere Beschäftigte weniger produktiv? Eine empirische Analyse anhand des LIAB," IWH Discussion Papers 13/2006, Halle Institute for Economic Research (IWH).
    4. Schneider, Lutz, 2011. "Zum Einfluss von Alter und Erfahrung auf Produktivitäts- und Lohnprofile - Befunde einer Linked-Employer-Employee-Analyse," Annual Conference 2011 (Frankfurt, Main): The Order of the World Economy - Lessons from the Crisis 48728, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    5. Jin-Tan Liu & Meng-Wen Tsou & Ping Wang, 2010. "Workforce Composition And Firm Productivity: Evidence From Taiwan," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(4), pages 1032-1047, October.
    6. repec:ilo:ilowps:399524 is not listed on IDEAS
    7. 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.
    8. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2014. "Labor diversity and firm productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 144-179.
    9. Nikolaj Malchow-Møller & Jakob R. Munch & Jan Rose Skaksen, 2011. "Do Foreign Experts Increase the Productivity of Domestic Firms?," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011014, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    10. Chicha, Marie-Thérèse., 2006. "A comparative analysis of promoting pay equity : models and impacts," ILO Working Papers 993995243402676, International Labour Organization.
    11. repec:ilo:ilowps:392033 is not listed on IDEAS

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