The Impact of Group Diversity on Performance and Knowledge Spillover -- An Experiment in a College Classroom
An important yet under-explored question in the teamwork literature concerns how group characteristics affect productivity. Within a given teamwork setting, it is not obvious how group member diversity affects the performance of the individual and the group. The group may gain from knowledge transfer and sharing while it may be crippled by communication and coordination problems that are prevalent in heterogeneous groups. In this study, we combine class performance data from an undergraduate management class with students%u2019 personal records to explore diversity and knowledge spillover effects. A major advantage of our dataset is the exogenous assignment of groups, which rules out the troublesome yet common self-selection issue in team literature. Our results indicate that male-dominant groups performed worse both in group work and in individually taken exams than female-dominant and equally-mixed gender groups after controlling for other group characteristics. Individual members from a group with more diversity in age and gender scored higher in exams. However, we did not find any significance of a group%u2019s racial composition over group and individual performances. Another novel aspect of this natural experiment is that each group chooses their own group contract form %u2013 members of %u201Cautonomous%u201D groups receive equal grade for their group work while those in "democratic" groups can adopt differentiated point allocation, thus, providing a proper mechanism to punish free riders. Our estimation results show a significant correlation between the choice of a democratic contract and the group and individual performance. To address the endogeneity problem in groups%u2019 contract choices, we use a maximum likelihood treatment effect model and found that the democratic group contract has a positive and significant effect on group performance.
|Date of creation:||May 2006|
|Date of revision:|
|Contact details of provider:|| Postal: National Bureau of Economic Research, 1050 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02138, U.S.A.|
Web page: http://www.nber.org
More information through EDIRC
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.:
- Luis Garicano, 2000. "Hierarchies and the Organization of Knowledge in Production," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(5), pages 874-904, October.
- Peter Arcidiacono & Jacob L. Vigdor, 2010. "Does The River Spill Over? Estimating The Economic Returns To Attending A Racially Diverse College," Economic Inquiry, Western Economic Association International, vol. 48(3), pages 537-557, 07.
- James J. Heckman & Brook S. Payner, 1989.
"Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina,"
NBER Working Papers
2854, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Heckman, James J & Payner, Brook S, 1989. "Determining the Impact of Federal Antidiscrimination Policy on the Economic Status of Blacks: A Study of South Carolina," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 79(1), pages 138-77, March.
- Imran Rasul & Iwan Barankay & Orana Bandiera, 2005.
"Social preferences and the response to incentives: Evidence from personnel data,"
Natural Field Experiments
00212, The Field Experiments Website.
- Oriana Bandiera & Iwan Barankay & Imran Rasul, 2005. "Social Preferences and the Response to Incentives: Evidence from Personnel Data," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 120(3), pages 917-962.
- Jonathan S. Leonard, 1984.
"Antidiscrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII, and Affirmative Action on Productivity,"
Journal of Human Resources,
University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 19(2), pages 145-174.
- Jonathan S. Leonard, 1983. "Anti-Discrimination or Reverse Discrimination: The Impact of Changing Demographics, Title VII and Affirmative Action on Productivity," NBER Working Papers 1240, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Caroline Hoxby, 2000. "Peer Effects in the Classroom: Learning from Gender and Race Variation," NBER Working Papers 7867, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Becker, G.S. & Murphy, K.M., 1991.
"The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge,"
University of Chicago - Economics Research Center
92-5, Chicago - Economics Research Center.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1994. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," NBER Chapters, in: Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pages 299-322 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gary S. Becker & Kevin M. Murphy, 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 107(4), pages 1137-1160.
- Gary S. Murphy Becker & Kevin M., 1992. "The Division of Labor, Coordination Costs, and Knowledge," University of Chicago - George G. Stigler Center for Study of Economy and State 79, Chicago - Center for Study of Economy and State.
- Alchian, Armen A & Demsetz, Harold, 1972.
"Production , Information Costs, and Economic Organization,"
American Economic Review,
American Economic Association, vol. 62(5), pages 777-95, December.
- Armen A. Alchian & Harold Demsetz, 1971. "Production, Information Costs and Economic Organizations," UCLA Economics Working Papers 10A, UCLA Department of Economics.
- Arcidiacono, Peter & Nicholson, Sean, 2005.
"Peer effects in medical school,"
Journal of Public Economics,
Elsevier, vol. 89(2-3), pages 327-350, February.
- 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.
- Bengt Holmstrom, 1981.
"Moral Hazard in Teams,"
471, Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science.
- David Neumark & Harry Holzer, 2000.
"Assessing Affirmative Action,"
Journal of Economic Literature,
American Economic Association, vol. 38(3), pages 483-568, September.
- Edward P. Lazear, 1998.
"Globalization and the Market for Teammates,"
NBER Working Papers
6579, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Gruenfeld, Deborah H & Mannix, Elizabeth A. & Williams, Katherine Y. & Neale, Margaret A., 1996. "Group Composition and Decision Making: How Member Familiarity and Information Distribution Affect Process and Performance," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 67(1), pages 1-15, July.
- Claudia Goldin, 1999. "A Brief History of Education in the United States," NBER Historical Working Papers 0119, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
- Uri Gneezy & Muriel Niederle & Aldo Rustichini, 2003. "Performance in Competitive Environments: Gender Differences," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 1049-1074.
- Knez, Marc & Simester, Duncan, 2001. "Firm-Wide Incentives and Mutual Monitoring at Continental Airlines," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 19(4), pages 743-72, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:12251. 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: ()
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.