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The impact of a culturally diverse workforce on firms’ market size: An empirical investigation on Germany


  • Stephan Brunow

    () (Institute for Employment Research)

  • Peter Nijkamp

    () (VU University)


There is evidence from the literature that firms enjoy higher productivity levels when the workforce employed is culturally more diverse. It is an open question whether this gain is utilized to shift the supply curve and set lower prices, in order to achieve a higher demand and possibly higher revenues. This knowledge gap is not addressed in the existing literature, and forms the departure of our research. We introduce a reduced-form model, inspired by the study of Melitz and Ottaviano (2008) on heterogeneous firms, and add labour productivity by using the approach of Ottaviano and Peri (2005) on cultural diversity. In our empirical study, we employ German data, while the field of research is conducted for single plants, and industry-specific effects are taken into account. Our analysis shows significant positive effects of the cultural diversity of the high-skilled workforce on the market size of single establishments. We conclude that emerging productivity gains are not just paid as dividend or factor rewards but are also used to set lower prices in order to achieve higher demand.

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  • Stephan Brunow & Peter Nijkamp, 2012. "The impact of a culturally diverse workforce on firms’ market size: An empirical investigation on Germany," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2012022, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.
  • Handle: RePEc:nor:wpaper:2012022

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin, Philippe & Mayer, Thierry & Mayneris, Florian, 2011. "Spatial concentration and plant-level productivity in France," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 182-195, March.
    2. Combes, Pierre-Philippe & Magnac, Thierry & Robin, Jean-Marc, 2004. "The dynamics of local employment in France," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(2), pages 217-243, September.
    3. Tabuchi, Takatoshi & Thisse, Jacques-François, 2011. "A new economic geography model of central places," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 69(2), pages 240-252, March.
    4. Ottaviano, Gianmarco I.P. & Peri, Giovanni, 2005. "Cities and cultures," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 58(2), pages 304-337, September.
    5. Ceren Ozgen & Peter Nijkamp & Jacques Poot, 2012. "Immigration and innovation in European regions," Chapters,in: Migration Impact Assessment, chapter 8, pages 261-298 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    6. 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.
    7. Niebuhr, Annekatrin, 2000. "Convergence and the effects of spatial interaction," HWWA Discussion Papers 110, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    8. Conyon, Martin J, et al, 2002. "The Productivity and Wage Effects of Foreign Acquisition in the United Kingdom," Journal of Industrial Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 50(1), pages 85-102, March.
    9. 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).
    10. Marc J. Melitz, 2003. "The Impact of Trade on Intra-Industry Reallocations and Aggregate Industry Productivity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(6), pages 1695-1725, November.
    11. Annekatrin Niebuhr, 2010. "Migration and innovation: Does cultural diversity matter for regional R&D activity?," Papers in Regional Science, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 89(3), pages 563-585, August.
    12. Arellano, Manuel, 1993. "On the testing of correlated effects with panel data," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 59(1-2), pages 87-97, September.
    13. Stephan Brunow & Uwe Blien, 2014. "Effects of cultural diversity on individual establishments," International Journal of Manpower, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 35(1/2), pages 166-186, May.
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    Cited by:

    1. Brunow, Stephan & Blien, Uwe, 2015. "Agglomeration effects on labor productivity: An assessment with microdata," REGION, European Regional Science Association, vol. 2, pages 33-53.
    2. Alpaslan Akay & Amelie Constant & Corrado Giulietti & Martin Guzi, 2017. "Ethnic diversity and well-being," Journal of Population Economics, Springer;European Society for Population Economics, vol. 30(1), pages 265-306, January.
    3. 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].
    4. Stephan Brunow & Bastian Stockinger, 2013. "Establishments' and Regions' Cultural Diversity as a Source of Innovation: Evidence from Germany," Norface Discussion Paper Series 2013022, Norface Research Programme on Migration, Department of Economics, University College London.

    More about this item


    cultural diversity; firm heterogeneity; market size;

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • L11 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Production, Pricing, and Market Structure; Size Distribution of Firms
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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