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What Types of Diversity Benefit Workers? Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Co-Worker Dissimilarity on the Performance of Employees

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  • Fidan Ana Kurtulus

    () (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of grouping workers into diverse divisions on the performance of employees using a dataset containing the detailed personnel records of a large U.S. firm from 1989-1994. In particular, I examine the effects of demographic dissimilarity among co-workers, namely differences in age, gender and race among employees who work together within divisions, and non-demographic dissimilarity, namely differences in education, work function, firm tenure, division tenure, performance and wages among employees within divisions. I find evidence that age dissimilarity, dissimilarity in firm tenure, and performance dissimilarity are associated with lower worker performance, while wage differences are associated with higher worker performance. My analysis also reveals that the effects of certain types of dissimilarities get smaller in magnitude the longer a worker is a part of a division. Finally, the paper provides evidence that the relationships between performance and the various measures of dissimilarity vary by occupational area and division size. JEL Categories: D2, J1, J2, J3, J8, L2, M5

Suggested Citation

  • Fidan Ana Kurtulus, 2011. "What Types of Diversity Benefit Workers? Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Co-Worker Dissimilarity on the Performance of Employees," UMASS Amherst Economics Working Papers 2011-11, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ums:papers:2011-11
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    File URL: http://www.umass.edu/economics/publications/2011-11.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Andrea Garnero & Stephan Kampelmann & François Rycx, 2014. "The Heterogeneous Effects of Workforce Diversity on Productivity, Wages, and Profits," Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 53(3), pages 430-477, July.
    2. Kato, Takao & Shu, Pian, 2016. "Competition and social identity in the workplace: Evidence from a Chinese textile firm," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PA), pages 37-50.
    3. Kato, Takao & Shu, Pian, 2011. "Competition, Group Identity, and Social Networks in the Workplace: Evidence from a Chinese Textile Firm," IZA Discussion Papers 6219, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    4. Parrotta, Pierpaolo & Pozzoli, Dario & Pytlikova, Mariola, 2014. "Labor diversity and firm productivity," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 144-179.
    5. Vincent Vandenberghe, 2015. "Is Workforce Diversity Good for Efficiency?," Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) 2015015, Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES).
    6. repec:bla:indres:v:56:y:2017:i:4:p:555-604 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Work-Group Diversity; Communication Costs; Knowledge Spillovers; Specialization; Worker Performance;

    JEL classification:

    • D2 - Microeconomics - - Production and Organizations
    • J1 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics
    • J2 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demand and Supply of Labor
    • J3 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Wages, Compensation, and Labor Costs
    • J8 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Labor Standards
    • L2 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior
    • M5 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Personnel Economics

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