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Review: Scott E. Page The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies

  • Yannis M. Ioannides

How can one tackle reviewing a book, for which entering "scott e page" the difference in google.com produces 24,000 entries? A New York Times, Science Section piece, titled in "Professor's Model, Diversity=Productivity" [Drifus (2008)], a link to a video presentation at the College de France [College de France (2008)], and numerous reviews in blogs along with commentary are only a few of the hits. Max Bazerman's endorsement reads "the book is brilliant. Page has a dazzling eclecticism." Kenneth J. Arrow's endorsement reads Scott Page has brought to our attention a practically important proposition: diversity of viewpoints is of the greatest importance in sloving the problems that face us individually and collectively. Diversity among a group of problem solvers is more important than individual excellence. Page's exposition remarkably combines lightness and breadth of knowledge with rigor and evidence." There is no obvious way to approach the review, especially since the book is clearly aimed a very specific audience. In fact, it is telling how diverse is the group of the "oh so-many other people" [Page (2007), p. xiv] who commented on parts of earlier versions. I start with a brief summary and then present the book's thesis, with the evidence coming first. The presentation is sprinkled with my reactions throughout. I close with a summary evaluation.

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Paper provided by Department of Economics, Tufts University in its series Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University with number 0729.

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Date of creation: 2009
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Handle: RePEc:tuf:tuftec:0729
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  1. Sanjeev Goyal & Marco J. van der Leij & Jos� Luis Moraga-Gonzalez, 2006. "Economics: An Emerging Small World," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 114(2), pages 403-432, April.
  2. Robert E. Lucas, Jr., 2001. "Externalities and Cities," Review of Economic Dynamics, Elsevier for the Society for Economic Dynamics, vol. 4(2), pages 245-274, April.
  3. Henry G. Overman & Diego Puga, 2008. "Labour pooling as a source of agglomeration: An empirical investigation," Working Papers 2008-05, Instituto Madrileño de Estudios Avanzados (IMDEA) Ciencias Sociales.
  4. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
  5. Roland G. Fryer, Jr. & Glenn Loury, 2010. "Valuing Identity," NBER Working Papers 16568, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. Ciccone Antonio & Peri Giovanni, 2007. "Identifying Human Capital Externalities. Theory with Applications," Working Papers 201098, Fundacion BBVA / BBVA Foundation.
  7. Antonio Ciccone & Robert E. Hall, 1993. "Productivity and the Density of Economic Activity," NBER Working Papers 4313, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Muriel Niederle & Carmit Segal & Lise Vesterlund, 2013. "How Costly Is Diversity? Affirmative Action in Light of Gender Differences in Competitiveness," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 59(1), pages 1-16, May.
  9. Rosenthal, Stuart S. & Strange, William C., 2004. "Evidence on the nature and sources of agglomeration economies," Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, in: J. V. Henderson & J. F. Thisse (ed.), Handbook of Regional and Urban Economics, edition 1, volume 4, chapter 49, pages 2119-2171 Elsevier.
  10. Hong, Lu & Page, Scott E., 2001. "Problem Solving by Heterogeneous Agents," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 97(1), pages 123-163, March.
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