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The Impact of Cultural Diversity on Innovation: Evidence from Dutch Firm-Level Data

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  • Ceren Ozgen

    () (Department of Spatial Economics, VU University Amsterdam)

Abstract

Due to the growth in international migration in recent decades, the workforce of firms in host countries has become considerably more diverse, both demographically and culturally. It is an important question for firms and for governments to ask whether there are some productivity-enhancing externalities gained from this growing diversity within firms. In recent years migration research has demonstrated positive economic impacts of cultural diversity on productivity and innovation at the regional level. However, there is a dearth of research on the links between innovation and migrant diversity at the firm level. In this paper we construct and analyse a unique linked employer-employee micro-dataset of 4582 firms, based on survey and administrative data obtained from Statistics Netherlands. Excluding firms in the hospitality industry and other industries that employ low-skilled migrants, we use the local number of restaurants with foreign cuisines and the historical presence of migrant communities as valid instruments of endogenous migrant settlement. We find that firms in which foreigners account for a relatively large share of employment are somewhat less innovative. However, there is strong evidence that firms that employ a more diverse foreign workforce are more innovative, particularly in terms of product innovations.

Suggested Citation

  • 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.
  • Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2011013
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Stephan Brunow & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "The Impact of a Culturally Diverse Workforce on Firms' Market Size: An Empirical Investigation on Germany," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 12-082/3, Tinbergen Institute.
    2. Kemeny, Thomas, 2013. "Immigrant diversity and economic development in cities: a critical review," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58458, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    3. Nathan, Max, 2013. "The Wider Economic Impacts of High-Skilled Migrants: A Survey of the Literature," IZA Discussion Papers 7653, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Stephan Brunow & Luise Grünwald, 2014. "Exports, agglomeration and workforce diversity: An empirical assessment of German establishments," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2014008, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    5. Trax, Michaela & Brunow, Stephan & Suedekum, Jens, 2015. "Cultural diversity and plant-level productivity," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(C), pages 85-96.
    6. Hoogendoorn, Sander M. & van Praag, Mirjam C., 2012. "Ethnic Diversity and Team Performance: A Field Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 6731, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Bosetti, Valentina & Cattaneo, Cristina & Verdolini, Elena, 2015. "Migration of skilled workers and innovation: A European Perspective," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 96(2), pages 311-322.
    8. Darwin Joseph R. & Palanisamy Chinnathambi Selvaraj, 2015. "The Effects of Work Force Diversity on Employee Performance in Singapore Organisations," International Journal of Business Administration, International Journal of Business Administration, Sciedu Press, vol. 6(2), pages 17-29, March.
    9. Stephan Brunow & Valentina Nafts, 2013. "What types of firms tend to be more innovative: A study on Germany," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2013021, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
    10. Longhi, Simonetta, 2013. "Impact of cultural diversity on wages, evidence from panel data," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(5), pages 797-807.
    11. Ozgen, Ceren & Nijkamp, Peter & Poot, Jacques, 2013. "Measuring Cultural Diversity and its Impact on Innovation: Longitudinal Evidence from Dutch Firms," IZA Discussion Papers 7129, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    12. Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Cities and Innovation: firm Effects or City Effects?," SERC Discussion Papers 0144, Spatial Economics Research Centre, LSE.
    13. Max Nathan & Neil Lee, 2013. "Cultural Diversity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship: Firm-level Evidence from London," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 89(4), pages 367-394, October.
    14. Nathan, Max, 2013. "Top team demographics, innovation and business performance: findings from English firms and cities 2008-9," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 59250, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    15. Georgiadis, Andreas & Manning, Alan, 2013. "One nation under a groove? Understanding national identity," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 166-185.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    immigration; innovation; cultural diversity; knowledge spillovers; linked employer-employee data; Netherlands;

    JEL classification:

    • D22 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Firm Behavior: Empirical Analysis
    • F22 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Migration
    • O31 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Innovation and Invention: Processes and Incentives

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