IDEAS home Printed from
MyIDEAS: Login to save this paper or follow this series

Ethnic Diversity and Team Performance: A Field Experiment

  • Hoogendoorn, Sander M.


    (University of Amsterdam)

  • van Praag, Mirjam C.


    (Copenhagen Business School)

One of the most salient and relevant dimensions of team heterogeneity is ethnicity. We measure the causal impact of ethnic diversity on the performance of business teams using a randomized field experiment. We follow 550 students who set up 45 real companies as part of their curriculum in an international business program in the Netherlands. We exploit the fact that companies are set up in realistic though similar circumstances and that we, as outside researchers, had the unique opportunity to exogenously vary the ethnic composition of otherwise randomly composed teams. The student population consists of 55% students with a non-Dutch ethnicity from 53 different countries of origin. We find that a moderate level of ethnic diversity has no effect on team performance in terms of business outcomes (sales, profits and profits per share). However, if at least the majority of team members is ethnically diverse, then more ethnic diversity has a positive impact on the performance of teams. In line with theoretical predictions, our data suggest that this positive effect could be related to the more diverse pool of relevant knowledge facilitating (mutual) learning within ethnically diverse teams.

If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.

File URL:
Download Restriction: no

Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 6731.

in new window

Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Jul 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6731
Contact details of provider: Postal: IZA, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany
Phone: +49 228 3894 223
Fax: +49 228 3894 180
Web page:

Order Information: Postal: IZA, Margard Ody, P.O. Box 7240, D-53072 Bonn, Germany

References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:

as in new window
  1. Gary Charness & Luca Rigotti & Aldo Rustichini, 2007. "Individual Behavior and Group Membership," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(4), pages 1340-1352, September.
  2. Gianmarco I.P. Ottaviano & Giovanni Peri, 2006. "The economic value of cultural diversity: evidence from US cities," Journal of Economic Geography, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 9-44, January.
  3. repec:oup:qjecon:v:124:y:2009:i:3:p:1095-1131 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. Eric A. Hanushek & John F. Kain & Steven G. Rivkin, 2009. "New Evidence about Brown v. Board of Education: The Complex Effects of School Racial Composition on Achievement," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 27(3), pages 349-383, 07.
  5. Åslund, Olof & Edin, Per-Anders & Fredriksson, Peter & Grönqvist, Hans, 2010. "Peers, neighborhoods and immigrant student achievement - evidence from a placement policy," Working Paper Series 10/2010, Swedish Institute for Social Research.
  6. Ceren Ozgen & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2011. "Immigration and Innovation in European Regions," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011028, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  7. Oosterbeek, Hessel & van Praag, Mirjam & Ijsselstein, Auke, 2010. "The impact of entrepreneurship education on entrepreneurship skills and motivation," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 442-454, April.
  8. Zeynep Hansen & Hideo Owan & Jie Pan, 2006. "The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom," NBER Working Papers 12251, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Angrist, Joshua & Lang, Kevin, 2004. "Does School Integration Generate Peer Effects? Evidence from Boston's Metco Program," IZA Discussion Papers 976, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  10. Parker,Simon C., 2009. "The Economics of Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521728355.
  11. John Morgan & Felix V�rdy, 2009. "Diversity in the Workplace," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 472-85, March.
  12. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Ethnic Diversity and Economic Performance," Scholarly Articles 4553005, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  13. L H Kahane & N Longley & R Simmons, 2009. "The Effects of Coworker Heterogeneity on Firm-Level Output: Assessing the Impacts of Cultural and Language Diversity in the National Hockey League," Working Papers 599378, Lancaster University Management School, Economics Department.
  14. 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.
  15. Edward P. Lazear, 1998. "Globalization and the Market for Teammates," NBER Working Papers 6579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  16. Sander Hoogendoorn & Hessel Oosterbeek & Mirjam van Praag, 2011. "The Impact of Gender Diversity on the Performance of Business Teams: Evidence from a Field Experiment," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 11-074/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 01 May 2014.
  17. Dean Karlan & Martin Valdivia, 2006. "Teaching entrepreneurship: Impact of business training on microfinance clients and institutions," Natural Field Experiments 00282, The Field Experiments Website.
  18. Card, David & Rothstein, Jesse, 2007. "Racial segregation and the black-white test score gap," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(11-12), pages 2158-2184, December.
  19. repec:oup:qjecon:v:123:y:2008:i:1:p:177-218 is not listed on IDEAS
  20. Dan Levy & Greg Duncan & Jacque Eccles & Johanne Boisjoly & Michael Kremer, 2004. "Empathy or antipathy? The impact of diversity," Natural Field Experiments 00220, The Field Experiments Website.
  21. Montalvo, Jose G. & Reynal-Querol, Marta, 2005. "Ethnic diversity and economic development," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(2), pages 293-323, April.
  22. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2012. "Does Labor Diversity Affect Firm Productivity?," IZA Discussion Papers 6973, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  23. Ceren Ozgen, 2011. "The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Innovation: Evidence from Dutch Firm-Level Data," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2011013, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  24. Yan Chen & Sherry Xin Li, 2009. "Group Identity and Social Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 99(1), pages 431-57, March.
  25. Parker,Simon C., 2009. "The Economics of Entrepreneurship," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521899604.
  26. Barton H. Hamilton & Jack A. Nickerson & Hideo Owan, 2003. "Team Incentives and Worker Heterogeneity: An Empirical Analysis of the Impact of Teams on Productivity and Participation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 465-497, June.
  27. Subhasish Dugar & Quazi Shahriar, 2012. "Group Identity and the Moral Hazard Problem: Experimental Evidence," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 21(4), pages 1061-1081, December.
  28. Jonathan S. Leonard & David I. Levine & Laura Giuliano, 2010. "Customer Discrimination," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 92(3), pages 670-678, August.
  29. Ozgen, Ceren & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2011. "The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Innovation: Evidence from Dutch Firm-Level Data," IZA Discussion Papers 6000, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  30. Neil Lee & Max Nathan, 2011. "Does Cultural Diversity Help Innovation in Cities: Evidence from London Firms," SERC Discussion Papers 0069, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
  31. Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  32. George A. Akerlof & Rachel E. Kranton, 2005. "Identity and the Economics of Organizations," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 19(1), pages 9-32, Winter.
Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

This item is not listed on Wikipedia, on a reading list or among the top items on IDEAS.

When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp6731. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Mark Fallak)

If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.

If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.

If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

This information is provided to you by IDEAS at the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis using RePEc data.