The author’s affiliation is Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The author thanks Wally Hendricks for granting access to the data, and numerous colleagues and seminar participants at Cornell University, the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rutgers University, Colgate University, the 2010 American Economic Association Annual Meetings, the 2008 Eastern Economic Association Annual Conference, the 2008 Annual Meetings of the Society of Labor Economists, and the 2008 Western Economic Association Annual Conference for their insightful comments and suggestions. Copies of the computer programs used to generate the results presented in this paper are available from the author; however, the data are confidential.
What Types of Diversity Benefit Workers? Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Co-worker Dissimilarity on the Performance of Employees
Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2011
© 2011 The Regents of the University of California
Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society
Volume 50, Issue 4, pages 678–712, October 2011
How to Cite
KURTULUS, F. A. (2011), What Types of Diversity Benefit Workers? Empirical Evidence on the Effects of Co-worker Dissimilarity on the Performance of Employees. Industrial Relations: A Journal of Economy and Society, 50: 678–712. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-232X.2011.00657.x
- Issue online: 28 SEP 2011
- Version of Record online: 28 SEP 2011
This study 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 to 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.