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Racial Diversity and Team Performance: Evidence from the American Offshore Whaling Industry

Author

Listed:
  • Michele Baggio

    (University of Connecticut)

  • Metin Cosgel

    (University of Connecticut)

Abstract

We use data from the natural experiment of the American offshore whaling industry to examine the causal effect of racial diversity on team performance. Teams consist of the crew operating onboard whaling vessels, and performance is measured by the value of the output captured during the voyage. Our identification strategy rests on the special characteristics of whaling voyages and exploits the richness of the data by including several fixed effects that address omitted factors. The results show that racial diversity’s effect on performance is U-shaped. The nonlinear effect was transmitted negatively by conflicts and positively by creativity among the whalemen. Crews adapted to diversity over time, as the effect shifted from being strongly negative in short-term voyages to negligible in the medium-term and then to positive in long term voyages.

Suggested Citation

  • Michele Baggio & Metin Cosgel, 2023. "Racial Diversity and Team Performance: Evidence from the American Offshore Whaling Industry," Working papers 2023-04, University of Connecticut, Department of Economics, revised Feb 2024.
  • Handle: RePEc:uct:uconnp:2023-04
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D24 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations - - - Production; Cost; Capital; Capital, Total Factor, and Multifactor Productivity; Capacity
    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J24 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor - - - Human Capital; Skills; Occupational Choice; Labor Productivity
    • L25 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Firm Performance
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility
    • N11 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - U.S.; Canada: Pre-1913
    • O47 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Growth and Aggregate Productivity - - - Empirical Studies of Economic Growth; Aggregate Productivity; Cross-Country Output Convergence

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