Diversity, Social Goods Provision, and Performance in the Firm


  • Ellison thanks the NSF for its support and the Institute for Advanced Study for its support and hospitality while conducting this research as the Richard B. Fisher Member. Mullin thanks the GWIPP for its research support. Jeffrey Greenbaum provided excellent research assistance. Glenn Ellison, a coeditor and referees, and various seminar participants have provided very useful comments and suggestions. Finally, we especially thank to John Chuang and Matthew Grant for their invaluable assistance in providing these data.


Economists have studied the effect of diversity on the provision of social goods and the stock of social capital. In parallel, management scholars have studied the effect of diversity in the workplace on firm performance. We integrate these two growing literatures and explore these questions with a unique dataset. A firm provided eight years of individual-level employee survey data, which include measures of the stock of social capital, plus office-level measures of diversity and performance. We find some evidence that more gender-homogeneous offices enjoy higher levels of social goods provision but those offices do not perform any better and may actually perform worse.